#JustWritePH: For Love Blog Tour – Excerpt and Review


And it’s time for another blog tour! I watched the #JustWritePH from the sidelines via Facebook and Twitter, and I want to say how proud I am of this initiative. I’ve always said that the PinoyWriMos were the most inspiring bunch of writers I know, and I’m even more inspired now that this has happened and there are a lot of new stories for everyone to enjoy.

What is #JustWritePH? The #JustWritePH workshop, which ran from July 1 to August 8, 2015, challenged participants to write a story and prepare it for publication in a little under 6 weeks. Tips and lessons were delivered online & in person. The reward? Guaranteed distribution on Buqo, plus marketing opportunities like a bundle launch (held at Bo’s Coffee Megamall on August 22), a Facebook party, and a blog tour.

And since I’m a romance fan and author, I’m going to review the For Love bundle, specifically, Sigh No More by Carla de Guzman. :D

#JustWritePH—For Love
Authors: Beth G., Carla de Guzman, Giselle Bacalla, and Amae Dechavez

Bundle description:

Love is never easy, but the journey to that happily ever after is what makes it worth it. Witness the struggles of these characters as they work their way through both new romances and second chances at love in this four-story bundle. Features “I Still…” by Beth G., “Sigh No More” by Carla de Guzman, “Velvet Valentine” by Giselle Bacalla, and “One Sweet November Day” by Amae Dechavez.

JustWritePH-ForLove-CoverSigh No More by Carla de Guzman
Connect with Carla: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Website

Beatrice and Claudia never thought they would see Benedick and Hiro ever again, not that they wanted to. But when the business opportunity of a lifetime hinges on Ben and Hiro’s work, they find themselves head over heels and crashing into the boys again. But why did they ever have to be apart in the first place? Can Hiro win Claudia’s heart back? Can Beatrice and Benedick ever stop fighting? This book is a modern retelling of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.

I read and liked Carla’s two previous works, Cities and Marry Me, Charlotte B! so I was very happy when I saw that she had a story in this bundle. I liked the set up from the very start, with Beatrice and Claudia and their stationery/art store. I liked their friendship and their banter, and they were two very fleshed out characters from the start. Then Ben and Hiro arrived, and madness ensues. But seriously, Ben and Hiro were just as charming characters, and funny, too, especially when Carla brought us back to how they met and what happened then and now.

Ben and Bea were the main characters here, so most of the focus was on their love story, and I loved it. I liked that both their perspectives were shown, and it was very entertaining once some plans went into action. I liked the panic in Ben and the hesitation that Bea felt, and it made me curious why they weren’t together when they were so obviously good for each other. The story unfolded gracefully, and I was really invested in them, so much that I already saw who was the real problem in the story even before the characters decided to do something about it.

Sigh No More was incredibly enjoyable, really, It was funny and romantic with just the right depth to make the story believable and make you wish for your own dorky Ben. ;)

Still need convincing? Here’s an excerpt from the story:

Right. Morning outfit selfie. Here we go.

I really looked awful in the morning, all messy hair and puffy eyes. That last beer really was a mistake. I adjusted the angle of my phone slightly, before I gave the camera my brightest, still-slightly-sleepy smile. I hadn’t really thought about what I was going to wear today (horror of horrors) and I ended up with my loose, ripped drawstring jeans, my favorite chunky sandals and a loose white shirt. It was going to be another hot day in DC, so a pair of plastic cat eye glasses went with the outfit. I put my hair up in its usual half-topknot and grabbed Claudia’s peach lip tint to swipe over my lips. I looked into my vintage full length mirror and snapped the photo.

“Beatrice Noble: Up and ready by 10 am and I’m already working,” I typed out on the phone’s notes. “Had a back and forth conversation with our printer regarding our new greeting card line while in bed, now heading off to meet with Claudia at Petit Jolie.”

That sounded good, didn’t it? I frowned little at myself in the mirror. I widened my eyes until I looked crazy and puffed out my cheeks. Gaze into the eyes of an underpaid, overworked, under-slept self-starter!

Claudia Crowne and I quit our jobs two years ago to start our baby, the Noble Crowne Paper Company. We started out with small jobs, making invites for relatives’ weddings, postcards and notepads. Then the next thing I knew, my life turned into a whirlwind of printers and paints, clients and meetings. Suddenly my social media posts were more important than times in and out, my 9 to 5 had turned into 24/7, and the voice in my head telling my that there was something inherently wrong with doing what I loved had finally dulled into a whisper.

Was it scary? It was still, in a lot of ways. Sometimes I think that it’s all been a fluke, or a dream of some kind, but then I check my ratty old filofax and the list of things I have to do just make me feel happy. It’s so weird.

One of the lifestyle blogs Claudia and I religiously followed finally responded to Claudia’s emails and asked for a ‘day in the life’ article from the girls of Noble Crowne. It was a big deal for us, and both Claudia and I were determined not to screw it up

Which was why, when I arrived at Petit Jolie, I wasn’t at all surprised to see that Claudia was wearing a short, sleeveless tunic printed with orange roses, mums and little red flowers that I used to pick from bushes as a child. Claudia made that dress from a pattern I gave her when I was first starting to paint. Now almost every piece that we produced in our little stationery company featured my hand painted flowers.

“You couldn’t be just a bit more subtle?” I teased, kissing my best friend’s cheek as we sat on our usual table of the corner cafe. Claudia and I lived within walking distance of each other on Kings’ Street in Old Town, Alexandria, a little neighbourhood in Virginia that still had wrought iron street lamps, twinkle lights on the main street, small Victorian buildings, shops and boutiques just by the Potomac River. I loved our neighbourhood. It was so pretty and quaint, despite being a stone’s throw away from Washington DC. Petit Jolie was a small boulangerie in the middle of an American street and smack dab in the middle of the town. It was also where the idea for Noble Crowne was born.

The #JustWritePH – For Love bundle is 75% off (Php45/$0.99) until September 27  from Buqo! You can also enter the raffle below for a chance to win a free copy! :)

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Buqo YA 5: Perfect Moments Blog Tour – Interview with Sue Donymko


It’s the last blog tour for Buqo YA, and today, I am very glad to have Sue Donymko, author of A Moment Like This from Buqo YA 5: Perfect Moments bundle. :) Sue Donymko lives and works in Manila, Philippines. When she’s not writing or working, or working some more, she eats, watches a lot of television, sings — much to the neighbors’ dismay — and reads until she falls asleep. You can subscribe to her blog here and follow her on Twitter here.

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Hi Tina,

Thanks for featuring me on your blog and for the mini interview. I enjoyed answering all the questions. Take care!

1. Who are your favorite YA authors? 

JK Rowling, Eoin Colfer, Gordon Korman, Rick Riordan. I generally like light and funny books, with the exception of JK Rowling’s tear-jerky Harry Potter series, and I know I don’t need to explain why!

2. What was the biggest challenge you had to face in writing your buqoYA story?

My biggest challenge was how to create a story that will capture that perfect moment that can establish something lasting or real between two individuals who only just met. I didn’t want it to be just one magical moment that would fizzle out once they were out of each other’s proximity.

3. Your characters enter the cafeteria – where would they sit?
Kris would either be in a separate table with one or two friends who are as chill and uncaring about popularity like she is. Noel, with his charm and looks, would definitely be with the cool but non-jock crowd.

4. Assuming you didn’t know the end of your story, what advice would you give your main character?
Wow, Tina, what a good question! Communicate. Take risks. You’ll never know until you try. :)

5. What song best describes your story?
Beginning of Something Wonderful by Orange and Lemons!

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6. What can readers expect from you next?
I’m finishing a New Adult novella, and maybe a spy/crime novella later this year!


Thanks, Sue! :) Her story, A Moment Like This, is part of the Buqo YA 5: Perfect Moments bundle, together with five other YA stories. You can get it (and the first four bundles!) here!


Sometimes you’ll meet your match: at detention, on the badminton court, in a resort hotel in Davao, at a lab, in a foster home, at an epic party. You’ll never know. But always keep your heart ready for that perfect moment. Read these stories and experience the bliss of first love.

A Moment Like This by Sue Donymko

Kris Mercado and Noel Abad are trapped in a posh resort hotel in Davao City during a particularly bad flood. After spending almost everyday together, they realize that they are undeniably attracted to each other. But reality bites as usual, and they now have to decide whether to chalk their romance up to forced circumstances or to explore what could be the sweetest love they’ve been looking for…

Anything You Want Me To by Audrine Pascal

Oh, Via. Such in a hurry to have a boyfriend. Now look who got dumped on social media, just before the epic party happening tonight.

So why is she hanging out with Franco Castañer? It’s all good – Via’s always been immune to all that yummy goodness, him being her best friend’s brother and all.

But is Franco actually being flirty? Or is she just reading too much into this? How exactly do you decode the species they call boy?

Vodka shot, anyone?

Something Real by Charm Jacinto

Hailey’s principle is heart over mind. It’s Rick or nothing at all. Brett’s scholarship comes first. His, was mind over matters of the heart. A laboratory experiment in Physics brought them together making their lives entangled with each other. From lab partners to having a crossfire of misread signals to friendship. Will they ever find the perfect formula when it comes to the principle of love?

Match Point Mishap by Madelyn Tuviera

“Shit happens to the best of us,” goes a saying, and Lester Torres, a now-starving student-artist, cannot agree more. The family business has reached a steady decline. His parents are distraught. His education is at the risk of being put on hold because tuition’s too expensive, impractical. Something they are no longer able to afford. Unwilling to give up, he tries to apply for an athletic scholarship in the hope of keeping the dream alive. He was in the high school badminton varsity team, after all. Might as well put his dormant skill to good use, right? He aces the first few matches, winning them in a breeze, and thinks that he’s got this scholarship in the bag already. Easy as pie.

Enter a talented player by the name of Wency David, and Lester lands the first missed service of his game.

Someone to Care by Jessica Larsen

After her parents die in an accident, Jennelle is passed around by her relatives. Hindi siya tumatagal ng isang taon sa piling ng mga kamag-anak bago siya itulak ng mga ito patungo sa iba. At fifteen, nalibot na yata niya lahat ng isla sa Pilipinas. Not that she cares, because she has learned from the moment she loses her parents that not getting too involved with anyone will keep her from getting hurt. Subalit nagbago ang lahat ng iyon nang makilala niya si Valentine, ang adopted son ng distant relative niya kung saan siya sunod na titira. Like her, Valentine has been orphaned at a young age, but unlike her, Valentine loves to keep everyone close—except her. And as if sharing a home wasn’t enough of a torture, they would also be attending the same school.

The Offside by KZ Riman

All I wanted was to move on to sophomore year. And, of course, to have Soccer God Mattheus Estevez back into my life, despite my brother’s incessant demands that I stopped dating jocks. What I didn’t count on, though, was to go through detention work with Geovanne Estevez, Mattheus’ identical twin brother, just so I’d realize both. And what I found baffling about it all was how Geovanne seemed to be putting a lot more effort into it than we had all bargained for, making this detention the best one yet.

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Buqo YA 4: Heart Choices Blog Tour – Guest post from Fay Sebastian

So let me take a step back here. This is the fourth blog tour for this, and there are 5 bundles, and in each bundle, there are 6 stories. That’s 30 new YA romances by Filipino authors, friends. That’s a lot. Now when will I have time to read them all is another thing, so now instead of blabbing about that, let me welcome one of the authors in the 4th Buqo YA bundle over to the blog. Here’s Fay Sebastian, author of Waiting for Whatever, talking about her writing playlist. :)

buqo YA 4 banner


Hello! I’m so excited to share my playlist while writing my #buqoYA story, Waiting for WhateverWaiting for Whatever is about Denise, who was waiting for true love since the time when she first experienced heartbreak. Denise soon learns that she already met her true love, but is surprised to find out that he’s actually someone who broke her heart before.


Waiting for Whatever has three POV’s: Denise’s, Seth’s and Robin’s. However, the POVs don’t follow a specific order (e.g. Denise-Seth-Robin) and they were arranged in a way that I felt most appropriate for the story.

While writing this story, I needed all the feels that I can get. So I added a song even if I used it to get feels for just one paragraph.

Someday by Nina

Denise’s song for every guy who broke her heart. [Listen to this every time there’s a heartbreak]

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It Might Be You by Stephen Bishop

Denise’s theme song for Seth. You know, before he broke her heart and when things are still okay. [Listen to this every time you find yourself rooting for Seth and Denise]

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Continue Reading →

Buqo YA 3: Finding Fairytales Blog Tour

buqoYA-3Buqo YA 3: Finding Fairytales
Publisher: Buqo

We all want the happy ending, the dream come true. But what if it doesn’t happen? How far would you go to get that “ever after?” Would you change who you are? Would you swallow your pride? Is the story really going to be as perfect as you think? Follow the path of these characters and see where they lead.

Stories in the bundle:

  • Fall for Grace by Anne Plaza
  • Just the Way You Are by Kat Sales
  • Love In the Time of Viral Videos by R. Linea
  • The Path of Us by Cassandra Javier
  • The First Time They Met by Ana Valenzuela
  • When Cocoy Became Kikay by C.P. Santi

It’s another blog tour week for #buqoYA! Can I tell you something not-so-secret? I really like the title of this bundle. It must be the fairy tale fan in me, or the romantic, because whenever someone says “fairy tales,” I think of happily ever afters. And those are really fun to read, yes?

So for this stop, I shall share two excerpts from the stories in this bundle. I have a copy of this bundle waiting in my phone, and from the excerpts, I cannot wait to settle down and read them. :) Enjoy!

The Path of Us by Cassandra Javier

“I’m sorry, okay? But Clara, you’ll do great. You’ll do amazing things because that’s who you are. You’ll manage out there because this is what you’ve always wanted, right?”

He went on, “And you know what’s even better?”

She looked at him and waited for what he had to say next.

“You’ll finally be able to get away with Pink or Purple streaks on your hair or whatever.”

She found herself laughing despite of herself. “Without you ratting me out?”

It depends.” He quipped, smiling. “I might see you in college.”

“Oh god no.”

They laughed. “See? You look so much better when you smile.”

“I still hate you.”

He laughed. “If you say so.”

She didn’t know what came to her mind right at that moment but she found herself inching towards him. In a span of seconds, she was planting a kiss on his lips. It didn’t last long—just a few seconds or so, and she wanted to bask in that moment, feel the butterflies in her stomach, the warmth of the air, the romance that the light of the fireflies gave, but she remembered that a) she had a boyfriend, and b) she hated Andrew—this shouldn’t be happening.


“I’m sorry.” She said. “I shouldn’t have—“


Please.” She said with finality. “I shouldn’t have done that. I’m sorry.”

She then ran away, leaving him and High School behind.

About the author: Cassandra Javier
Cass is a cat lady who graduated with a degree in Broadcasting and has worked as a copywriter, a researcher in an IT company, a call center agent and was even a trainee for a time in a television network. She writes articles for a living. When not writing articles, she writes novels, fanfiction, short stories and whatever she may think of. She loves TV series, movies, music, and is a very big bookworm. She’s also addicted to butterflies, faeries and Ice Cream.

When Cocoy Became Kikay by C.P. Santi

“Since when did you start having a lablab, Coy?” Dags lifted a brow.

So much for keeping secrets. “So I like someone. Big deal.”

“Is . . . is it a guy or a girl?” Paulo asked tentatively.

I turned incredulous eyes toward him. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Dude, whichever way you roll . . .” Dags shrugged.

Oh, c’mon. True, I was a T-shirt-and-jeans kind of girl and I hung out with guys, but that didn’t automatically translate to such gender assumptions. Sure, I loathed boy bands. And I loved basketball, camping, and shooting more than the average girl should. Living with my dad hadn’t exactly encouraged girly pursuits. But still.

I sighed. “Dude, if I were gay, I’d tell you. But I’m not.”

“So, who is it? You have to tell us,” Paulo protested. He stood to tower over me, arms crossed over his chest.

“Aw, Coy, aren’t we friends?” Dags cajoled as he strummed the first notes of “Maalaala Mo Kaya.

I sighed. Paulo, Dags, Joel, and I had been friends for years. The four of us were the only ones crazy enough to take up a dare issued by our neighborhood playmates—to see if a manananggal indeed left the lower part of its body at the abandoned Siangco house on Lilac Street.

Over the years, our friendship had been further cemented by bruises and scraped knees, basketball games, camping trips, fish balls, turon, and buko pandan royale, day-long village-hopping bicycle trips, and innumerable fries and Coke floats.

I never kept secrets from them. Usually.

“So who is it?” Paulo asked again.

Fine. I cleared my throat. “It’s . . . it’s Jaime.”

I counted five seconds of absolute silence.

Dags frowned. “Jaime?”

“Jaime Arguelles?” Paulo bent over, laughing. “Cocoy, you are so predictable!”

About the author: C.P. Santi

C.P. Santi is a Filipina author based in Tokyo, Japan. She is a wife to an engineer/musician/jokester and a full-time mom to two energetic boys. She loves cooking and baking, and enjoys feeding people, gorging on chocolate, watching J-doramas, belting it out in the karaoke box, and running around the house playing tickle tag. She also loves dreaming up stories about the people she meets.

In another life, she is also an architect and academic.

Her first book, Be Careful What You Wish For, is a contemporary romance based in Tokyo.

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Buqo YA 2 Blog Tour: Sweet Complications


Buzzer beater in today’s tour stop because work and life are in the way of the reading and blogging life (as always). But today, before the day ends, I’ll be reviewing one of the stories in the second Buqo YA bundle!

Once Upon a Sticky Note by Kristel Ann Cruz
Buqo YA 2: Sweet Complications (buy on Buqo!)

Nate and Tanya have been “talk all day, every day” best friends for years but on the eve of Nate’s birthday, Tanya realized she has started developing more-than-platonic feelings him. They’re going off to college soon so confessing anything that might make things complicated between them doesn’t sound like a good plan, especially now that Campus Sweetie Armi has entered the picture. What would Tanya do? Could she? Should she? Grab a sticky note and place your bets.

I’ve been seeing this story in the #buqoYA twitter feed during the time the stories were being written, and I thought this was such a cute title. I love sticky notes, too, and I was really curious on how this item would fit in the Nate and Tanya’s love story.

This is a short, short story, but despite its length, I was really convinced that Nate and Tanya were truly best friends, with the way they knew each other and the history they had together. I think that is the most challenging about writing friends-turned-lovers stories – building on their history and making the readers believe that they are meant to be even from the start (except writing that trope for YA is a bit easier because the characters are younger). I liked their back story, which was simple, and how Tanya truly loved Nate as her best friend and not just a guy she liked.

Once Upon a Sticky Note had both the sweet and the complications, as this bundle is all about. Don’t worry, the ending is more sweet than complicated. :P My only wish for this story is that it was a little bit longer, if only to flesh out their characters and their stories more. Nevertheless, this is a very sweet and cute YA story that you should not miss. :)



Of course it also doesn’t hurt that he is nice to look at. I have always pegged Nate as a pretty boy, but his unassuming ways make him look more attractive. I like his thick eyebrows, his smiling eyes, and the dimple on his left cheek that mirrors mine. I can’t even tell you how many jealous stares I have fielded when we walk through the school together, or how my heart secretly swells seeing these.

It’s quite melodramatic to say that our lives have never been the same since we became closer because we are still very young, but that fact doesn’t make it any less true. I will feel so lost when the time comes he or I would have to go our separate ways. Graduation is coming soon and to be honest, I’m dreading college. I wonder if we will be as close as we are now or whether I will be left behind, a mere footnote to carefree high school days.

It was almost morning when I realized I am in love with my best friend.

About the author:

It boggles the mind how someone so shy and awkward found herself in Public Relations, but somehow Krissy makes it work. If she were a fictional character, she’d be a female Ted Mosby. Whether it be prose, poetry, a watercolor painting, or a craft project, she is happiest when she makes. Talk about books, movies, and lipsticks with her on www.krissyfied.com

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