Monday, February 24, 2014

Writing as business and art

Let's get a few things out of the way: Wattpad and its popularity in the Philippines just blew away many misconceptions people have had about writing and the state of reading among Pinoy youth.

An interesting consequence of this is that so many young authors are getting published, or self-publishing. I'm happy for them (I too was a young writer just dreaming to see my name on an actual book), but I also am alarmed at how many of them seem not to know what they're getting into, and are perhaps signing away precious rights for bargain prices.

Maybe it's because they're young, but there's a lot of trust being given here -- trust in the publisher, to provide guidance and expertise. Some publishers are of course worthy of your trust. Some, unfortunately, are not. I always tell my workshop participants to prepare for success -- please don't accept a crappy deal because you don't believe it will ever be worth anything, and that any attention, any offer, is good enough.

I've posted several chapters worth of advice for young writers here on Wattpad. It's in Taglish. (Yes marunong akong mag-Tagalog, friends.) I hope it helps you in some way!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Who are you, at Luna East?

Since we launched Luna East volume 1, I've been invited to speak at schools and give writing exercises. So what did I asked students to write about? Luna East!

We created this fictional universe for adults who wanted to write YA. But would kids be able to do this too?

Turns out, yes. At least, the fourth grade students at Miriam College were able to give it a shot.

Anyone can write a story set in Luna East Arts Academy. If you have one right now, go write it, post it, and share it -- and maybe you could win a copy of volume 1! (Also an awesome Luna East lanyard and keychain, making you totally a Luna East student!)

You can also buy the Amazon ebook, or order the paperback (Philippines).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The answer is: whatever you imagine

I'm happy.

A lot of you know that I don't really do book launches. I've fortunately been able to do signings and events, sure (thanks Summit), but an event specifically to show people the first copies of one of my books? Not really. Well, never. It's a strange idea, because when I publish these days I just click "PUBLISH" and boom, it's launched. No need to party.

But when I started working with #romanceclass, and started recognizing that I'm part of a community now, I realized that a launch means something. It's a celebration of a book. It's natural to want to share that happy news to everyone who cares about us (the authors) or about books in general.

So this happened:

Thank you, Ayala Museum, for thinking that this is something worth doing. The space you gave us was lovely and roomy and so very artsy.

Thank you, #romanceclass authors, for putting everything together. And I mean everything, including this awesome spread!

Photo: dementedchris on Instagram
We launched the #LunaEast book (order here: or wait for the cheaper Student Edition paperback in March!) and became honorary Luna East students too.

Photo: storiestotell on Instagram
Thank you, friends and readers, for coming over and partying with us...

Photo: detteadrianne on Instagram
Photo: storiestotell on Instagram
Photo: taniaarpa on Instagram

Photo: happpss on Instagram

This was an unexpected but lovely surprise...

Photo: _sparksfire on Instagram

A present!
So that was a launch. Also an anniversary for a class that isn't just a class anymore. It's now a community of authors, artists, publishers... (bakers, caterers, event planners...) 

I wonder what else we can all do. More, probably. Whatever we set our minds to.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

KIDS THESE DAYS: Stories from Luna East Arts Academy volume 1 (Art Feature)

This is so exciting! *gasp pant wheeze*

Welcome to my stop on the Kids These Days: Stories From Luna East Arts Academy blog tour. I'm part of this collection of short stories (all set in high school) but I'd like to showcase the art that appears in the book here.

Because we encouraged the writers contributing a Luna East story to post their work online, many of the stories in the book are things you've probably seen (or can see, right now, if you go to or Wattpad). But the art? These are all new. :)

By Robert Wong, for Anne Plaza's story
Robert V. Wong is an illustrator and graphic artist who has done works for gaming companies, restaurants, schools and organizations.  He has a passion for anime-related art as well doing speed caricatures and technical design.  On occasion, he is known to dress up as a robot when he indulges in his hobby called cosplay, along with his wife Jewel, as well as organizing such events. His works can be found in his Deviantart at

By YK Marquez, for Kristel S. Villar's story
When YK started drawing at the age of three, she would fill their home with large doodles on the wall, even on the pages of her school textbooks. She would also tinker and experiment with her mom's point and shoot camera. While it used to be more of a hobby to her than anything else, she eventually took a step forward to take her art seriously when she took a Fine Arts degree and majored in Visual Communication at St. Scholastica's College.

YK aspires to break into the children's illustration industry and create inspiring stories for children and young adults alike. She is currently working freelance as a web and graphics designer.

By Richard Cy, for Stella Torres's story
Richard Cy is a casual illustrator residing in Manila. He is a graduate of the Far Eastern University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Advertising. The arts heightened his passion for his craft, deepened by various literary works and stimulated by unlimited sorts of music.

With paper, watercolor and ink as the tools of his trade, Richard makes hand drawn illustrations in a contemporary approach. He can also combine his works with digital techniques to befit the client's needs.

Richard is available for freelance work and private commissions. You can email him at to get in touch.

By Jonnalyn Cabigting, for Jen C. Suguitan's story
Jonnalyn Cabigting aka baka_usagi's earliest memories of her childhood will never be completed without her sitting on the floor, while holding crayons and doodling "stickman versions" of Disney princesses and princes. She claims that drawing anything and everything (on the back of your notebook when the class gets boring) enhances your art skills. In school, she usually drew hand-made mangas for her friends and occasionally joined poster making contests. She also participated in stage and classroom decorations and became a member of her primary and secondary school's journalism club as an editorial cartoonist.

Thought she did not pursue this talent in college, she would often find time to improve her skill in drawing thanks to Paint Tool Sai and Photoshop.

Today, she is an accounting staff in Pasig and a freelance writer and illustrator at Wattpad.

About the book
The stories from LUNA EAST ARTS ACADEMY are about love. And also, friends, food, kissing, rumors, mean people, insecurities, birthdays, breakups, making up. We set it in an arts academy because we wanted everyone to have a talent, and know it. Because no one is ordinary, if you know them well enough. 

Who are you, at LUNA EAST? Are you a popular kid, a wallflower, a drama club diva, a debate whiz? Visit to read more stories from #LUNAEAST, and submit your own. For readers 16 and up. Buy the paperback: