Saturday, April 12, 2014

Guest post by #buqosteamyreads author Kali Ragilles: A story, an island, and serendipity

Author Kali Ragilles is taking over the blog today!

Having been brought up by forward-thinking parents, I've never been skittish about writing anything sexy --- or even anything that pushes the boundaries of normal. Except werewolves. I draw the line when it involves someone, or something, remotely resembles my pet dog. Anyway, my parents have always encouraged me to write, and simply avoided reading the steamy stuff, more for their own sake than mine.

The thing is, I never really considered publishing anything. I was contented showing my husband (and occasionally, my mom) the stuff I wrote. Even with all these platforms making self-publishing easy, I couldn't find any reason to show everyone my work. Then Mina made this announcement for #BuqoSteamyReads.

I just had to give it a shot.

I did, and I ended up with a steamy romance novella. Unfortunately, I only found out about the deadline for the final draft two weeks before it was due. I didn't think it was enough time to clean up the mess I called a manuscript. People would be paying to read my story, and I wanted to make sure it was worth their money.

My solution? Write another story. But this time, shorter. I targeted a word count that the workshop originally called for --- 5,000 words of steamy romance. I pushed myself to finish it, and thankfully, I completed a 10,000-word short story. My editor, Chris Mariano, helped pull off what could have been an otherwise impossible writing feat for me.

From my manuscript's storyline, I came up with a prelude, Passion Within The Stone Walls. It told the story of Paige de Guia, the childhood friend of the novella's heroine. I needed a PR agent in the series, and Paige was perfect for the part. But the hardest was the setting. Where could I put Paige and Sean's group together without finding out they both knew my novella's heroine?

I didn't have to ponder long. My husband had been bugging me to organize the photo archive in my hard drive, and it just so happened the first photo album I opened gave me the answer to my setting problem.


In my past life, I was a travel blogger (and no, I will not tell you what my blog name was). Batanes, particularly its island of Sabtang, was one of the places I swore I would return to. But, life happened. I figured I could at least revisit the island through my fictional characters, and somehow relive the experience when a place actually made me want to retire at the tender age of twenty-five.

Since the story is fiction, I took the liberty of ignoring a few updates on real-life details (last I heard, electricity in Sabtang now goes out earlier instead of at midnight). But the island remains the same peaceful and enchanting. I tried my best to capture in words the awe I felt during my own visit to the island, but I don't think I could ever do justice to the beautiful province that is Batanes. You need to go there to see for yourself.

Still need convincing? Perhaps Paige can persuade you. Get Passion Within The Stone Walls from :)

Kali Ragilles is a twenty-something writer living in Manila, Philippines with her husband and their pet dog. She loves watching romantic comedies and eating french fries. Follow her on Twitter @AuthorKali (, like her page on Facebook (, or visit to contact Kali and sign up for her mailing list.

Passion Within the Stone Walls is part of the Passion #buqosteamyreads bundle. Get it on buqo for iOS and Android, or at

No comments:

Post a Comment