Saturday, December 27, 2014

Missed a class? Get the textbook and skeds

I've put the lessons from #romanceclass and #steamyreads on Gumroad. Consider these PDF handouts, as if you attended the workshops. Best if you're a self-paced learner. If you feel you need to be writing with a community, do reach out to me and the other authors. We're still doing online discussions about this! (Or we can talk about stuff again if you really really need us to.)

Friday, December 26, 2014

PLAYERS sports romance anthology (includes The Harder We Fall)

The PLAYERS Sports Romance Anthology (from Flirt Publishing) is out now, and it includes the following books written during our #flirtsteamyreads class:

Between Heats by Laney Castro
The Princess Finds Her Match by Suzette de Borja
Submission Moves by Camilla Sisco
Tame the Kitten by Bianca Mori
The Harder We Fall by Mina V. Esguerra

The eight-book anthology also features books from bestselling authors Marian Tee, Liliana Rhodes, and Malia Mallory!

From the octagon to the diamond, from bikers in leather jackets to rock-hard MMA fighters to gorgeous swimming champions, there’s just something about bad boy athletes that makes you swoon, knowing they’re the kind of alpha male to fight for the women they love.
This EIGHT STANDALONE SPORTS ROMANCE BOXED SET can be yours for only $.99 for a very limited time. 

Curl up on the couch with this hot collection of novels and novellas where athletes bring the steam both in and out of the locker room. And best of all, these stories have no cliffhangers! 
Includes three never released stories by NYT and USA Today Bestselling Authors Liliana Rhodes, Marian Tee, and Malia Mallory! 
Play With Me by Marian Tee: This is no ordinary love triangle: the ex-bad-boy who had his heart stolen, the foul-mouthed girl who has more Nikes than him, and basketball: the third party. 

Playing Games by Liliana Rhodes: Curvy Cassie Monroe moves to Canyon Cove with only one thing in mind--finding a job. But after a close encounter with a sexy MMA fighter in the locker room, maybe she’ll find love too. 
Strike to the Heart by Malia Mallory: Tennis star Jo meets MMA fighter Zane at a US Open party, not knowing who he is. Throwing her usual caution to the wind, Jo allows herself one hot night with a stranger… 
The Harder We Fall by Mina V. Esguerra: A fast fling is all what media student Daria and rugby player Nicholas have time for. Wanting different things from life means they don’t get to stay together, but it doesn’t mean they can’t have fun – as long as they don’t fall hard. 

Between Heats by Laney Castro: Madison never expected for all-American swimming champ Aaron to try getting her fired on her first day. But Madison’s not the type to back down from a challenge, and Aaron has a hard time pretending he’s not attracted to the aspiring model. 

The Princess Finds Her Match by Suzette de Borja: When their affair becomes tabloid headlines, proper Princess Lexie and sexy polo player Nic are forced into a pretend relationship and things get awfully complicated from there. 

Tame the Kitten by Bianca Mori: Kit Torres' near-collision with a speeding biker sets off a chain reaction that's a bigger rush than anything she's ever experienced before. 

Submission Moves by Camilla Sisco: MMA fighter Nick Rossi has never had to work hard for a woman before until a snarky feminist with a huge chip on her shoulder came along. But despite one hot night together, Rose spurns Nick at every turn. Nick may be undefeated in the cage but, in a battle of wills, he will find that Rose can more than hold her own. 
Eight sexy, gorgeous alpha male athletes are just waiting to make you theirs so tackle this hot sports romance collection now for only $.99c!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Stories/Books I released in 2014

Kids These Days (Luna East Volume 1) (short story "Fifty Two Weeks")

Say That Things Change: New Adult Quick Reads 1 (short story "Creation Myths")

Sola Musica: Love Notes From A Festival (short story "Georgia Lost and Found")

Gifted Little Creatures (an Interim Goddess of Love short story, featuring art by Raine Sarmiento)

The Harder We Fall (Spotlight New Adult #1)

Thank you to everyone who was part of what I think was an awesome year, as far as being an author was concerned. :) Hope you're back for more next year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Boyfriend Backtrack by Dawn Lanuza: Excerpt + Giveaway [blog tour]

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Boyfriend Backtrack! I met author Dawn Lanuza at a workshop in Batangas (and also on the internet before that, if it counts) and am ecstatic that her book is out. I hope more people get to read and discover her work!

Check out this excerpt from her book...

“What if we get married,” he blurts out. No, more like, he spat it out.
I lean back on my chair, completely taken aback, “What?”
Kevin pulls his hand away and reaches into his pocket. He fishes out a blue velvet box. I squeeze my eyes shut. That is not what I think that is. This is not happening. Is it really? I open my eyes. Yup, box still in the table. I try to recall if there was a hint of proposal in our earlier conversation but all I could remember was whether or not we’re having Japanese or French tonight. So no, definitely, no.
“I mean, it makes sense, doesn’t it?” He asks me, snapping me back to focus.
I lean back to the table to gauge his reaction. Is he serious? Is he being forced to marry so he can settle back to Sacramento? I find myself looking back down at the box. Kevin begins to talk again but I couldn’t make out a single word.
I bet it’s the wrong ring. Kevin has weird taste in jewelry. As much as he’s got good taste in everything else, the man can’t seem to get it right when it comes to jewelry. Last time, he bought me these earrings that I only wore for a night and never wore again. I do not look good in hoop earrings, never did and never will.
And in the middle of me thinking about where I put those earrings, the most bizarre thing happened. It was more bizarre than the fact that I was thinking about these earrings when my boyfriend just dropped the word marriage into the table.
In movies, they call this bit a ‘montage’: a series of shots edited into a sequence. In my case, it was a series of all the men I’ve dated before I landed in this very table, in a quaint French restaurant, drinking wine from some French villa, staring at a blue velvet box from my boyfriend of three years.

There weren’t many of them, but it was disturbing, still. I mean, Dirk was in it. Dirk, who I’m not even sure I even really liked to begin with. And then there was Thomas, and Josh…

About The Boyfriend Backtrack
If they say that life flashes right before your eyes when you die, do you also get a flashback of your exes when your perfect boyfriend is proposing to you? At least that's the case for Regina Cortez. There's her dramatic high school boyfriend, her first college crush, the irresistible heart breaker, and the ever elusive one. By backtracking to her past, will Regina make it to 'I Do'? Or will she just keep running away?
Goodreads  Amazon

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About Dawn Lanuza

Dawn Lanuza has been imagining and writing love stories since she was a kid. She works for the music industry by day, and writes about meet cutes and snappy comebacks by night. She writes short stories, chick lit and young-adult fiction. She has a degree in Development Communication from the University of the Philippines.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Join the #buqoYA class (January 24 to February 28, 2015)

Telling you now, so you can spend the next month preparing:

New online class. January 24. We're writing YA romance. You in?

If you've attended #buqosteamyreads and #flirtsteamyreads before, the format will be very similar. I will be facilitating a mostly-online writing class. It will run from January 24 to February 28, 2015. Most of the lessons will be sent through email, but there will be two (optional but fun) face-to-face classes. 

This class will be sponsored by ebook retailer buqo. (Thanks, buqo!) Some details we know right now:

- Participants must write and submit an original YA romance/contemporary story (like previous classes I've held, there will be some required elements in each story as a challenge to each author)
- 5,000 words minimum
- English or Filipino or Taglish
- Authors retain copyright of their stories
- Finished work will be offered an ebook distribution deal on buqo
- The class is free! 

(Authors under contract with publishers must first get clearance to independently enter a distribution agreement with buqo. Thanks!)

Ready to be a published YA author? :) Sign up here to join the #buqoYA list.

This is only the first of several classes planned for 2015! If this is not exactly your thing, or if the timing doesn't work out, don't worry, future classes might be a better fit. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Hello, Turkey! Translation and foreign rights

Nothing's certain until I see the book on a shelf somewhere, but I did just do this -- I signed a contract giving one company the right to translate some of my books in the Turkish language.

I decided to post about it for two reasons.
1. To inform you all that Turkish language rights to my books are taken, because I feel that I should, and
2. Other countries and languages - hello! Let's do this.

One great thing about starting to self-publish, and then keeping most of the rights even as I partnered up with publishers, is that I still own the translation and foreign rights to most of my books. And in writing new ones, I'll ensure that this remains the case.

If anyone is interested in translating my romance books into another language, or obtaining rights to print and distribute my books in another country, send an email over to Thank you!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Workshop: Print book formatting and affordable printing, February 28, 2015

Update: 3 slots left as of December 5.

Print book formatting and affordable printing
Venue: O2 Space Solutions, Milelong Bldg, Amorsolo St. Makati
Time: 8:30 to 11:30 am
Fee: P3,500 (includes snacks and coffee)

Facilitated by Tania Arpa and Mina V. Esguerra

What we're going to do is format your book for printing and upload it to a print-on-demand service during the session. We will also talk about print-on-demand services in Metro Manila and help you place your orders that day.

I would also prefer a small group, so please go over these requirements before you reserve a slot. You must have, by February 28:

1. A final manuscript, in Microsoft Word .doc format or PDF
2. A cover spread (front cover, back cover, and spine) in JPG, 300 dpi
3. A book description
4. Laptop you can bring to workshop (can edit .doc, save to PDF, and edit JPG)

Contact me at if you prefer a special session because you are available on a different date.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Workshop: Ebook formatting and publishing on January 31, 2015

Update: 3 slots left as of November 29.

Ebook formatting and publishing
Venue: O2 Space Solutions, Milelong Bldg, Amorsolo St. Makati
Time: 8:30 to 11:30 am
Fee: P3,500 (includes snacks and coffee)

What we're going to do is format and publish your book during the session. That means your book will be available for purchase THAT DAY. Consider January 31 your book's release day.

I would also prefer a small group, so please go over these requirements before you reserve a slot. You must have, by January 31:

1. A final manuscript, ideally all text/prose (or if with image inserts, then only a few), in Microsoft Word .doc format
2. An ebook cover (front cover only) in JPG, 1000 pixels on the longest side
3. A book description
4. The ability to make and accept Paypal payments
5. Laptop you can bring to workshop (can edit .doc and JPG)

We can schedule a new workshop day if slots fill up quickly, or if you don't have complete requirements by January 31. Will announce new dates.

If you're ready for more: On February 28, 2015 we'll teach you how to set up your print edition (through worldwide print on demand, and affordable printing options). Update: 3 slots left for this as of November 29.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Recent Events: PILF, ReaderCon, Miriam College High School, Uno Morato

I had a busy few weeks. (Inside voice: You think?)

The Philippine International Literary Festival and Book Industry Summit (organized by the National Book Development Board) was on November 12 and 13, and I was there both days to both moderate a discussion and be part of a panel. As always, it's an honor to be asked to share how I've published my books. This time I tried to make it more "newbie friendly" and stepped back to explain everything, from the beginning. You would know it though if you already read this blog, so I just gave them the highlights.

November 14, the third day of PILF-BIS, was also the Filipino ReaderCon. I recently joined the ReaderCon board and was there all day to do a variety of things: moderate a discussion featuring readers who've transitioned to writers, watch the panels on diversity and fan fiction, and co-host the Filipino Readers' Choice Awards. I was fine and chipper all day, until right after this picture was taken and as I made a phone call to my husband to tell him I was on my way to meet him, my feet started aching like crazy. I may have been running on bookish adrenaline all day.

On November 20, I was part of a panel on writing and publishing at Miriam College High School, with authors (and comedians) Dean Francis Alfar, Edgar Samar, and Bebang Siy. It was fun. I can't possibly recap what made it funny, but it was. I do hope we were coherent. And check out the tchotchkes Bebang brought along! She makes herself feel at home everywhere.

On November 22, I was with Bebang again at Uno Morato in Quezon City for a discussion on writing, publishing, and everything else, moderated by Anna Sanchez. I chose this pic because it shows me seriously reading Bebang's erotica novel. (It's steamy!)

My next talk is at UP Diliman on December 1. I've said yes to a few invitations for 2015 already. Thank you so much for being interested in what I do. :)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

"Volcano" research: The Harder We Fall and its rugby connection

The first book in my Spotlight New Adult series, The Harder We Fall, features a character who's a rugby player. I'm sure anyone who knows me even a little went What? What do you know about sports? And they would be right.

I like putting little challenges for myself in every book I write though, and psyched myself up for this: write about sports. I wrote this book for flirtsteamyreads and we had agreed to all write a sports-centric romance, so I pretty much got an entire group to leave my comfort zone along with me. I think we enjoyed it though? I hope so!

So, why rugby? Basketball is the big deal here, but that was precisely why I decided not to use it. As we were writing, the World Cup was on, and football was on everyone's minds. Also why I steered clear from it. A few months ago, my friends Kat and Kesh guested on the 5x5podcast and talked about rugby. It's a sport that hasn't gotten as much of a following in this country, and anyone who chooses to play it does so knowing that they're taking on a set of struggles and opportunities.

I took off from that and wrote the book. Along the way, I consulted actual rugby players Jon Morales and Evans Atandi, and the inside info has been just awesome.

Thanks also to my friend Chef Sharwin Tee for letting me tag along when his TV show Curiosity Got the Chef filmed at the training camp of the Philippine Volcanoes, the country's national rugby team. I saw the teams train, got to talk to female players and coaches, checked out what they ate, heard all the yelling. Lots of yelling. And got more help from Lady Volcano Cassie Umali, and the captain of the Volcanoes himself, Jake Letts.

A photo posted by Mina V. Esguerra (@minavesguerra) on

A photo posted by Mina V. Esguerra (@minavesguerra) on

So what did I learn from this? Research is fun. It's worth it to write more about what you don't know, because spending the time knowing it opens up all these possibilities.

It's also a balancing act of sorts, to keep the book focused on what it's supposed to be (a romance) and resist the urge to info dump everything I learned about rugby. Even just the stories they've shared about going on tournaments and training for them, and the lives they have to live in between, those could fill books. I can't write them though. I may have been sworn to secrecy about some things.

But I am writing a second rugby book, because I felt that another character in The Harder We Fall could have his own story. And he will!

The Harder We Fall is out now worldwide, and will be in Philippine bookstores in 2015.

Buy links: Amazon  Smashwords  iTunes  Kobo  buqo

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Release day! The Harder We Fall and Never Just Friends

If you're watching out for these (yay if you are!), they'll be out on November 18! Please read or buy or share the info. Thank you!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Perfect Boyfriends: My Imaginary Ex, No Strings Attached, That Kind of Guy

I clicked "publish" this weekend on something. Don't panic -- I don't suddenly have a new book you've never heard of! But I did compile three of my earlier books, those that might be a bit difficult to find outside of the Philippines, and now they're available in print and ebook editions worldwide, from online stores you like.

I've opted this into CreateSpace Expanded Distribution which means bookstores and libraries that order from CreateSpace can sell and stock this book. (If you represent a library or bookstore, check this out if you want more Filipino authors/Asian setting romance on your shelves! Thanks!)

I will not be making a print on demand edition of this for the Philippines, nor will this be in Philippine bookstores. But it'll be available for purchase from sites that ship to the Philippines.

Three books by bestselling romance author Mina V. Esguerra, together in one edition for the first time. Fall in love three different ways... 

Jasmine once pretended to be Zack's ex girlfriend, to help him score with another girl. They've been good friends since then, so good that his two real exes rope Jasmine into their plan to stop him from marrying someone they think is totally wrong for him. (MY IMAGINARY EX)

Carla's 29 and won't settle down and marry just any guy, no matter what her friends say. She thinks Dante is a safe bet for a non-relationship, because he's 24 and couldn't possibly want something long-term. (NO STRINGS ATTACHED)

Anton has dated a lot of women and is everyone's "delicious distraction." But he seems to have fallen hard for good girl Julie -- if only she believed him. (THAT KIND OF GUY, winner of the 2013 Filipino Readers' Choice Award for Chick Lit.)

Friday, November 7, 2014

Guest post by Sola Musica cover designer Martina Bautista

By Martina Bautista

For someone who loves the feeling of sand in between her toes and the sound of waves crashing on the shore, I’m rarely at the beach. I spend way too much time behind my computer screen pinning my life away, and day dreaming about far off places and possible adventures. Prompted by the occasional burst of “I need to get out of here” thoughts, I spend a good chunk of my mornings on budget airline websites contemplating fictional vacations and itineraries that never come to life.

So when it came to planning out the cover for Sola Musica, there was no shortage of ideas or inspiration, all I needed to do was stop my daydreams long enough to get the design down on paper. I suppose that due to my will to buckle down and get creative, I let myself get carried away because when it came time to submit the cover, I ended up producing 4 completely different variations, each with a different photo of a beach or an adventure long gone.

The process of creating the cover involved going on 4 mini adventures with an overall leap into graphic design, a field I’ve only dabbled in. The process for each cover design was the same, mentally mapping out where it would fit and what the part of the festival it would represent then deciding the colors that would suit the mood. I read through each other the stories while brainstorming, and unknowingly, I let myself get lost in the words and next thing I knew, all 4 covers were done.

Normally, I would have to go through the daunting task of going through every font in my laptop, and eventually land right back where I started: font-less and overwhelmed. Nothing seemed to fit the theme or the feel that I wanted to show, until the authors decided to get Macy to do the calligraphy. I’m happy with how easily it fit with the overall vibe I was looking for.  

I don’t know exactly how the authors processed my email with 4 options, but in the end, the vote was unanimous, resulting in the whimsical handwritten love from Macy and the sunset photo with pastel tones from me.

I can’t wait to get myself to the beach and away from the hustle and bustle of the city, armed with Sola Musica and a really chill beach playlist. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Excerpt: Never Just Friends

Jacob Berkeley, famous for his critically-acclaimed television show Rage Eternal, last year’s Hottest Male Ever, this year’s 30 Sexiest on TV Under 30, was not hers.
Jake Berkeley, on the other hand, was a guy she met in college. Eater of her sister’s cookies. Playmate of her nephew and niece. The person she sat beside for three out of the last four Christmas dinners. Semi-annual “All-Clear Happy Hour” drinking buddy. Potential future Amazing Race partner. And, if that didn't pan out, her zombie apocalypse buddy.
But he wasn't her best friend, no. That would be crazy. Calling him that would let them fall into that awful cliché, and list them among the dozens, if not hundreds or thousands, of platonic male-female “best friends” out there who were really just waiting for the other to wake up and smell the love already.
No they were not that. She was not that.
Lindsay paused and shook her hair out of the ponytail, catching her reflection on the window of an idling cab. It was July, and she rarely saw him in July, come to think of it. Since they both moved away from Fremont in California, they didn't see each other in the summer, when her hair was a bit more blond than brown, even when she did nothing new to it. She got the short end of this stick because she got to see him all year round. Got to see him buzzed and sweaty in photos of him working out to get in shape for his show. Got to see him be hot and handsome in the different time periods that his show’s seasons had been set in. (She didn't watch the show, though, but the promotional photos were used as billboards, and she usually had to walk by one when it was that time of the year.) Got to see him and his perfect black hair, perfectly sculpted stubble, perfect blue eyes taunting her from magazine covers.
She remembered that the dress she was wearing was a sexy crimson halter if she shrugged out of her brown knit sweater. So she did that. She caught her reflection yet again on a car window, and almost smacked the self-satisfied look on her face with her hand.
What for? Why are you doing this?
You have Victor. Maybe.
And he is not your Jake.
They (she and Jake) might not even be as friendly now as she thought they were. The last time she saw him was April, over a year ago, and it wasn't the best time for either of them. He skipped that year’s August happy hour, and missed Christmas, and she didn't hear from him the following April.
Or any other time in between.
Sometimes she wondered if she should be more worried about him, but the news didn't report anything serious enough to get her attention. She’d find out along with everyone else if anything happened to the fifth sexiest guy on TV “under 30” yes? So she assumed the distance was deliberate on his part.
And then this, having her walk five blocks to see him, on an assistant’s errand. A contract for him to sign. She'd find out that he was in New York this way? Because he probably flew in this morning. He liked doing that, flying into places early. Being up early. Doing things at dawn. She wouldn't have met him, in fact, if on that day her sister Cordelia didn't take the first flight out, and Lindsay woke up at five a.m. to help her with something.
And saw him jogging past the house she shared with her sister, her sister’s husband, and their two kids.
He ran by twice, probably circling the neighborhood, and then that was it.
Lindsay woke up early every day to check if he would pass by again. For two days there was no Hot Guy sighting, and then on the third day…
But no. She should be angry. Annoyed. Incensed. She should have put her foot down right there on the carpet and made Marnie do the welcoming herself.

It didn't matter if he was successful Jacob Berkeley now who got to act on TV, be on magazine covers, and take all-expense paid trips to be an environment poster boy. She was important too, damn it. Not in ways that he’d know unless he read the copyright page of policy papers (and who did really), but damn it.

Never Just Friends will be out on November 18. Buy here: Amazon iBooks  Kobo  Smashwords Amazon (Paperback). CreateSpace (Paperback, use code CPWT2BBA to get 10% off).

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Title page appreciation: My Summit Books designed by Studio Dialogo

So this is what I learned over the years: When people say they love a book, but refuse to get the ebook, it means what they really love isn't just the author's words. They also love how the book was made.

They love the decisions your publisher made. Which paper to print on. The font used. Glossy or matte lamination on the cover. Cover paper stock. The skill of the artist/designer who put the pages together.

That has almost nothing to do with me, the author! 

This is a post in appreciation of the designers of my Summit Books, a firm called Studio Dialogo. I love the little details they pick up from the stories, that show up within the book pages and the covers.

Title page appreciation #MyImaginaryEx Book design by Studio Dialogo Cover by @abigoy Summit Books

Title page appreciation #NoStringsAttached Book design by Studio Dialogo Cover by @abigoy Summit Books (Dante's cellphone move! Don't try it unless you can live without it.)

Title page appreciation #ThatKindofGuy Book design by Studio Dialogo Cover by @abigoy Summit Books

Title page appreciation #FairyTaleFail Book design by Studio Dialogo Cover by @rommeljoson Summit Books

Title page appreciation #LoveYourFrenemies Book design by Studio Dialogo Cover by @abigoy and Frances Alvarez Summit Books

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Sola Musica book launch on Oct 25!

Ines, Marla, Chinggay, and I are launching Sola Musica's paperback edition on Saturday, October 25! And you're invited. 

We will be at O2 Space Solutions in Milelong Bldg, Makati (near Makati Cinema Square) from 10 AM to noon. Those who ordered their paperback at will be able to pick up their copies there and also have them signed. We'll sign any of our other books that you bring along too!

If you happen to join this giveaway below and win, you'll be able to pick up your prize pack at the launch too! (Or we can ship it to any Philippine address, no problem.)

See you on October 25!

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Spotlight series: We're growing up a bit

It's time to say a little something about the next few books I'm releasing. I have seven (seven!) book projects all laid out, one after another, and they can all be classified under NA contemporary romance.

What it means: They're going to be hotter. Way hotter. There's always been mention of sex in my chick lit and NA books, but for reasons that would require a long discussion about bigger things, I kept it all "closed-door" and "fade to black."

For reasons that will still require a long discussion about bigger things (and possibly fancy drinks?), I've decided that my next few books will keep the door open, a bit, so to speak.

Also, while I'm still focusing on romance (so you'll find the style and writing familiar), I'm adding more variety to my usual sandbox. We'll be going to California, New York, Texas. We'll play rugby, defend reforestation projects, date actors starring in hit cable shows.  

If this is not your thing, and you still want to read my books, don't worry -- I have at least ten titles that can be considered "sweet," or "non-steamy," with characters and stories set entirely in the Philippines, and you can find them here.

This Spotlight experiment begins with The Harder We Fall, out this month. Thank you for the support you've given me so far! Now let's see if we can have more fun with this thing. :)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Kitchen When It Sizzles: Interview with author Chrissie Peria [Blog Tour + Giveaway!]

Welcome to my stop on the #KitchenSizzles blog tour! This is author Chrissie Peria's second solo novella and she's on a roll this year, also being nominated for a 2014 Filipino Readers' Choice Award (no big deal...)! Here's my interview with Chrissie:

1. Let's get this out of the way -- how awkward was it to write the "steamy" scenes? (And I don't mean cooking.) 
Writing steamy is not as awkward as I thought it would be. I had a clear idea of how I wanted to handle the steamy scenes, so it was just a matter of tapping into the characters' emotions and getting the words down.

Truth be told, it's owning up to writing the actual prawn-y bits that I found more awkward than the actual writing. How do I tell people I wrote this? I even considered using a pen name, but in the end, I decided to stand by what I wrote and take credit for it. I slaved over this book, damnit, I want my name on the cover.

2. How did you decide to write and publish something a bit more adult as your next book?
Following All's Fair with a more mature book wasn't a conscious decision. Kitchen Sizzles was supposed to be a short story for #steamyreads. In fact, my first draft stopped somewhere halfway the current story. But it didn't feel right, so I kept writing.

In the end, I fell in love with the characters and I wanted everyone else to get to know them, too, even if it wasn't part of the plan. Kitchen Sizzles takes me out of my comfort zone, but it also feels so rewarding to broaden my horizons, so no regrets.

3. Would you have featured more food in the book, if you could? Were there dishes that didn't make it through the edit? 
Yes! There was supposed to be an elaborate dessert (with bacon) that was going to be a plot device but as I was writing it, I realized that I didn't need it. I had Sticky Chinese Ribs from the start! So bye-bye dessert. I'm more of a savory dish person anyway, so I don't feel bad. 

4. Did you encounter any resistance from yourself or readers to casting a chef as your love interest? 
None from me since I've been wanting to feature a chef LI for the longest time. I haven't gotten any complaints from those who've read it either. (Except maybe from a certain fictional art director / photographer named Jesse, but we know he's biased.) I think we can all agree that a hot guy who can dish out a mean creme brulee is a keeper.

5. What's next for you?
A little of everything! I'm juggling stories right now, letting a bunch of story ideas gestate before choosing one to be fleshed out fully. There's a contemporary YA retelling of a Filipino classic, a YA fantasy, a new #LunaEast story, and a few NA romances, some sweet, some steamy. I'm leaning towards this sweet NA romance featuring characters from a kiddie show, but I'll have to see what the universe throws at me.

About the book

Olivia Nadal is an almost perfect girl with an almost perfect life. She has stunning good looks, an exciting job that pays well, men lining up to date her, and a homey little condo she calls her own. The only thing keeping her from perfection is her utter inability to cook.

Enter Nate Olivarez, a hotshot chef who's filling in for Olivia's cooking instructor. Sparks fly when they meet, but a fling with the visiting hottie is the last thing Olivia needs. But as things keep heating up in the kitchen, she can't help but wonder. Can things work out between her and Nate? Or is the sizzle all set to fizzle?

Purchase links: Amazon | B&NSmashwords | The Book Depository | iTunes

About Chrissie Peria

When not obsessing over fictional people doing fictional things, Chrissie obsesses about food: the eating, the cooking, and the procuring of it.

An advertising copywriter in her past life, she now spends most of her time writing, taking photos, cooking, and babysitting a tiny human and a curly-haired dog. She still plays with dolls and she thinks that bacon is the answer. Her first book, All's Fair in Blog and War, is a finalist in the 2014 Filipino Readers' Choice Awards.

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Monday, September 29, 2014

What's next for #romanceclass: Ayala Museum workshops!

We had the free online version, the textbook, and the monthly talks...and then we tried this:

I worked with Ayala Museum this year to come up with a three-session version of #romanceclass. We had our final class on September 23 (not the 19th because we got typhooned out). Here's my quick evaluation of it:

As the facilitator, this format works for me. It doesn't take up too much of my time. I had participants read their work aloud, and I think it was good for the authors to hear their fellow authors react to their work. (A giggle here, a kilig squee there.) I also feel that the direction and advice for one usually applied to more than one author in the room, and at least everyone got to learn from each other, even if they weren't necessarily writing the same story.

The museum charged a fee (P3,800) for the workshop, so the group was smaller (free online #romanceclass had 100 participants!) and I really got to know them and their work. I didn't even realize this until I felt a bit sad at the end of the last class, haha.

One new addition to #romanceclass that I thought worked well was an idea borrowed from Steamy Reads: the "alpha male" guest speaker. Kelvin Yu, bass player for the band Itchyworms (and also a friend from college), was a good sport and talked to our author participants about love, relationships, dating, and what it's like to be in a band these days. I invited him in particular because more than one author had a "part-time rock star" character. :) I loved the authors' questions!

We're doing this again next year. Looking forward to it already!