Filipino Friday 2014 – Week 1 and 2

Oh there, I see cobwebs on this blog. *brushes them off*

Hello, everyone! It’s been months since I blogged, and as always, I meant to blog, but life took over and well, there you go. In a way, it was coming, because even my reading life was affected, which led to some pretty drastic changes with how I read and what I read, and what I blog about.

But that is another discussion post altogether, which I don’t know if I’ll ever write about in detail because let’s be honest: if my life was a bus, book blogging is all the way there at the back row.

So sorry, book blog.

But I’m breaking that silence right now because hey look, it’s Filipino Friday again! It’s that time of the year! I missed last week’s post because my sister-in-law gave birth, and we all know what happens when there’s a baby at home, right? (If you don’t, well, here it is: you just want to look at the baby. All day. :P) I’m going to make a catch up post right now, though,  because I can, and because I like today’s topic. :D

Filipino Friday

Week 1!

Surprise, Reader! Hello, it’s the first week of Filipino Fridays 2014! Whether it’s your first time to participate or not, tell us a bit about yourself. More specifically, tell us about your favorite book discoveries for this year. Any author you started reading this year that you can’t get enough of? A book you didn’t think you’d like, but you ended up liking/loving? Any book series that you just have to get your hands on? Have you discovered anything new from Filipino authors this year?

Favorite discoveries:

  • Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed – I love this for all its raw honesty, and because I read it near my birthday. :)
  • The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jesse Rothenberg – I think I heard of this through Kai, and I really, really enjoyed reading this one. The 5 stages of grief, and the poem at the end, and how it all tied up together was heartwarming and it all felt right.
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman – I know Neil Gaiman is good, but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this one! Thanks to my new manager for pushing this to unearth this from my shelf.
  • Lumen Fidei, Evangelii Gaudium by Pope Francis – This is the first time I tried reading something that the church wrote, and I was surprised with how much I enjoyed it. These two encyclicals are not boring at all, and I realized that if there’s another place where I can get spiritual nourishment other than the Bible and the mass, reading what the Pope wrote would be a good place to start.

Favorite new series:

  • The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater – !!! I haven’t read a lot of YA recently, and I wasn’t particularly fond of The Scorpio Races. Then I picked up The Raven Boys one day and I. Am. Hooked. I love Blue and the Aglionby boys now, and it’s just such a mystical world. I love it so much that I bought the third book in the series, Blue Lily, Lily Blue on its release day. Now get me home so I can continue reading!

Books I wanted to like but didn’t like felt lukewarm about:

  • The Woman Who Died a Lot by Jasper Fforde – Okay, it’s not that I didn’t like it, but more of I didn’t feel too excited about it after. I like Thursday Next, and I didn’t really believe people have been saying the latter books weren’t up to par as the first four. This one kind of felt like it proved their point. I will still read the next ones, and I hope it gets better.
  • Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – I found this very readable and I enjoyed the voices of the characters…but that ending, though! So many mixed feelings about it!

New Filipino authors:

  • Some are not necessarily new to me since they’re classmates in #romanceclass. I finished reading The Boyfriend Backtrack by Dawn Lanuza and I was surprised with how much I liked it. (Also, Chase ♥)

Week 2!

As a reader, have you ever thought about writing a book? What kind of books/stories do you want to write? Or are you now a published author, and what compelled you to go fulfill this dream? How was your journey from reader to writer? How did you go about getting your book out there?

Here’s what I would have answered, if this question was asked two years ago:

Yes, I’ve always wanted to write and publish a book – a chick lit/romance/fluffy book – but I don’t have the guts because I’m scared of being edited or reviewed.

If you asked me last year:

Yes, I’ve always wanted to write a book, and I’m writing one now, but I have no idea when I’ll finish and have it edited.

But I suppose this question was asked this year, and I am both thrilled and nervous to say that I can actually answer the latter questions because I self-published my first book last month(Yay!)

The journey from reader to writer is not necessarily hard, because I’ve been writing for so long. But it was hard work, because I had to get myself writing (and the #romanceclass deadlines and structure really helped!), and then I actually had to work on getting beta readers, revising, looking for an editor, revising, and then finally taking that plunge to put my book up in Amazon and market myself as an author.

It’s not necessarily hard, but it’s not easy either, because you need to work. Especially if you decide to self-publish, and I’m learning that I have to really start being shameless if I want people to read my book. Also, I have to learn to have thick skin for comments and reviews that’s not really as desirable for me. I haven’t gotten them yet, but who knows, right?

It does feel surreal, though, to know that I have a book out there. Finally. 

And since I did mention shameless:

 

Fall Like Rain by Ana Tejano :)

Fall Like Rain by Ana Tejano :)

Yes, that’s me, and yes, I’m using a pen name. I wrote a post about why I did that, and why I am revealing who Ana is left and right on my personal blog. Let this post be a plug, because like I said, I must be shameless. :D

Summary:

Rain De Castro has been in love with her best friend, Mark Velasco, for almost the entire time she has known him, but she’s clearly in the friend zone because he’s happily in a relationship. Or so she thought, until the news of his break-up reaches her. Now that Mark’s single again, she decides that it’s time to get out of the zone. But when her cousin Lissa comes into the picture and sets her eyes on Mark, Rain feels troubled when he gets a little too friendly with her. Rain is determined to fight for what she feels this time, but is it worth the effort if it’s a losing battle from the start? Will she back off to give way for her best friend’s happiness, even if it means losing him to someone else again?

Preview the book: first five chapters on Wattpad!

Where to get the ebook: Amazon | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Scribd | Smashwords

Where to order the print book (Philippines only): Click!

Follow my author accounts: (Hee, still can’t believe I can say that now :D)

And no, this story is not about me. :)

There you go. Happy Friday, everyone! :) Hope to see you at the Filipino ReaderCon 2014! :)

Mish-mash: ReaderCon FF4 + RR November 2013

I’m just a tad late for this weekly and monthly post. I’m going to combine this post because I might forget one or the other, plus I think I made a way to connect these two topics. Let’s see if I can get away with it.

So a Filipino Friday on a Saturday! :D

readercon2013-ff

This is Still Reading, Right? Do you read (or have at least tried to read) books in other formats aside from print? How was your experience with these different book formats?

I have answered this several times, but let me talk about how things have changed now. Ever since I got Hannah the Kindle Paperwhite, I’ve been using it more often than I actually read print books. I realized that in the past three months, I’ve read the assigned book club book in my Kindle. Most of the books I finished recently were all in ebook form, which goes to show how much I’m enjoying using the Paperwhite. I mean, I used Astrid the Kindle a lot, but after some time I stopped using it because…I’m not really sure why. I have a feeling it’s the front light feature of the Paperwhite that hooked me in — it’s just so useful.

Plus, I seem to read ebooks faster than I read print books.

And then I looked at my actual print book TBR, and I feel a little bad, because I’m not making a dent at it at all. Not that I’m still pressured to get rid of all the books in my Mt. TBR. It’s just that I was starting to miss the feel of print books. And dog-earing actual pages.

So that is why for my November Required Reading, I have decided to go for print books. :)

Required Reading: November

Just two books! Two print books! :D

November 2013

  • The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater – I had this in my November 2012 reading list because it had November written all over it (I mean, the story was set in November) but I got hit by the slow reading bug that month so I never even touched it. This time, I’m going to try to really read it. (I started already, fyi.)
  • The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster – Our book club’s book of the month. I love anything New York, so I’m quite excited to read this. Plus I heard good things about this. Lady Liberty approves. :D

Of course I will probably read something from my Kindle again, but that’s already a given. I’m going to try to read more print books at the last two months of the year, just so I can dog-ear properly.

Back to formats: other than ebooks, I have listened to a few audiobooks. I just get distracted too fast so I don’t always listen to them. I find that enjoy audiobooks more when it’s a “reread”, and it’s a book I loved — case in point: Jellicoe Road. Even the audiobook broke my heart. And I can’t dog-ear with audiobooks! (Yes, that’s really important. :P)

It is exactly one week till the ReaderCon! It’s going to be a busy week, but I am so, so, so excited for November 9! I hope you are too! The 3rd Filipino ReaderCon: What Do Readers Want? will be on November 9, 2013, 8:00am to 6:00pm at the Rizal Library – Ateneo de Manila University. This event is held in partnership with Rizal Library and National Book Development Board (NBDB), and sponsored by Buqo, Fully Booked, Adarna House, Scholastic, Flipreads, OMF Literature, Hachette, Simon & Schuster and Island Merchants Corporation, with media partner When In Manila. I’ll see you, yes? Say hi! :)

 

Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards 2013

This day last year was the 2nd Filipino ReaderCon at the Filipinas Heritage Library. It was a fun, fun, fun bookish event, but one of the most memorable things I did as part of the organizers of the event was be a part of the first Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards. It was such a fun experience working behind the scenes in the awards, setting up voting forms, writing posts and cheering silently for the books that I hope would win. It also helped that I was working with two great girls (who know so much more than I do about books! :D).

Preparations for the 3rd Filipino ReaderCon are all under way, and that means we’re also starting to work on the 2nd Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards. In fact, nominations have been open since August 9! Have you nominated your favorite book yet?

Filipino Readers' Choice Awards

What books can you nominate? Any book (print or electronic) published in the Philippines from January to December 2012. Yes, even self-published books count! 

What are the categories? Children’s picture book, Chick lit, Novel in English, Novel in Filipino, Comics / Graphic novels, Short story anthology, Essay anthology, Poetry.

I’ve been checking out my reviews before I wrote this post, and I saw some books I read and reviewed on the blog last year that fits the criteria (most fall under Chick Lit category…why am I not surprised? :D):

Have you read any of these books, too?

Nominating a book is as easy as filling out this form, and you can nominate more than one book! Don’t worry about nominating books that you think your friends have nominated too — we like reading your reasons for nominating. :) And yes, do tell your friends, your co-workers, and everyone you know about this. :D Nominations are open until August 23 — but don’t wait until the last day to nominate!

More updates about the Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards will be posted on the Filipino ReaderCon website, Facebook and Twitter. :)

Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards set for 2013

In 2012, I was lucky to be included in the team that organized the first Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards that was a part of the 2nd Filipino ReaderCon that happened last August. It was fun because I saw so many Filipino books that I can add to my TBR. This year we’re sort of launching the awards a little bit earlier, so we readers can start recalling our favorite Philippine published books in 2012. :)

Filipino Readers' Choice Awards

The Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards returns for its second straight year, engaging the Filipino reading public in honoring their favorite Philippine-published titles.

An initiative of the Filipino Book Bloggers Group, the Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards debuted at the 2nd Filipino Reader Conference in 2012, and was established to develop awareness and appreciation of Philippine literature, recognize the reader’s role in creating the meaning and experience of a literary work, and give the readers a voice in the Philippine book industry.

For 2013, the Filipino Readers’ choice awards will be open to books published from January to December 2012. Nomination period is set for May 2013, in preparation for the awards ceremony at 3rd Filipino ReaderCon in August.

2012 winners of the Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards (books published 2010-2011) were: “But That Won’t Wake Me Up!” by Annie and Anelka Lumbao and Liza Flores, Adarna House (Children’s Picture Book); “Fairy Tale Fail” by Mina V. Esguerra, Summit Books (Chick Lit); “Ilustrado” by Miguel Syjuco, Anvil Publishing (Novel in English), “Ang Huling Dalagang Bukid at ang Authobiography na Mali” by Jun Cruz-Reyes, Anvil Publishing (Novel in Filipino); “KikoMachine Komiks Blg 6” by Manix Abrera, Visprint (Comics/ graphic novel); “Alternative Alamat” edited by Paolo Chikiamco, Rocket Kapre and Flipside (Short Story Anthology); “It’s A Mens World” by Bebang Siy, Anvil Publishing (Essay Anthology); and “Off the Beaten Track: Tulaan sa Tren 2” NBDB and Vibal Foundation (Poetry Anthology).

Preliminary survey for the Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards is now ongoing at http://filipinoreadercon.wordpress.com/readers-choice-awards/frca-2013-survey/.

United We Read

Like I mentioned in one of my previous posts, one of the many reasons why I haven’t been blogging lately is because I’ve been busy using my creative juices over at the Filipino ReaderCon website. This year, I decided to step up and have a bigger role in the conference just because it’s about something I feel passionate about. I became the head of the Online Promotions team, which wasn’t really different from what I did last year, save for a few more responsibilities.

So most of my responsibilities happened before the event: managing the website, helping out with the Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards, twitter, Facebook. It wasn’t that stressful, but it did zap me of some writing juices hence the silence in this blog. And that other blog.

But anyway. Last Saturday was D-day, and man, what a day it was. I love being a part of events, really, and events about books and reading really just takes the cake. Since my main responsibility for the day was to live tweet and to update Facebook every now and then, I was pretty relaxed. Especially since I had a very capable online promotions team who were ready to do the live tweeting for the different panels. :)

Online Promotions! Yay! (Photo from Ella)

So the morning sessions went by smoothly and Internet was running perfectly and tweets were coming in with the hashtag #filreadercon. I was tweeting, too, from my phone, and it was quite a tiring thing, but it gave me some time to listen to the panels. I just love the energy of the people, both online and offline.

And then, my good friend Celina tweeted this:

And then I double checked on my Tweetdeck:

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