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! :)

Brb, writing

It’s been a while since I posted. Why the silence?

One word (or icon):

It’s National Novel Writing Month time! For some reason, I seem to be busier this year. It may be just because it’s the start of the writing season, so I’m still scrambling to put my ML duties within my normal everyday routines. I have a review backlog and a Google Reader backlog and I am not really doing well with some of my readings, so!

Yeah, expect it to be a little quiet for a while here. I will try to get some reviews out of the way soon — being on night shift does have its perks — but if I disappear here and on Twitter, I may be too busy catching up with my word count quota and researching about novel stuff, such as Psychiatric Aide Jobs. :)

Are you also doing NaNoWriMo this year? Come celebrate/commiserate with me by leaving a comment! Or add me up as a writing buddy — we can do this together! :)

November is NaNoWriMo

Love Books? Write One!

I love books, and yes, I will try to write one (again!) this November :)

When October rolled around this year, I felt a sense of nervous anticipation in the air that almost felt foreign to me. I couldn’t figure out why I felt nervous and excited at the same time, and I know it wasn’t because of my brother’s wedding this month (but there is nervous anticipation for that, too). It wasn’t until I got an email from my inbox with this subject when I was reminded why there’s a certain thrill to October:

[NaNoWriMo HQ] New site is live!

Of course! October means it’s less than a month until National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)! :)

(NaNo -what? Here’s NaNo in a Nutshell for you! :) )

This is actually my cue to panic, really, but before I do some official panicking, I suppose a history of my relationship with NaNoWriMo is in order. I started NaNoWriMo back in 2004. I was a junior in college, then, and it was a very busy time for me, but I was missing my “literary” life. I took up Computer Science back in college, thinking that I could always squeeze in writing in between my technical life. I joined the school’s literary folio when I was a freshman but quit because of lack of time. I stopped writing my stories after that because I had to focus on school, but come that time in 2004, I felt the itch to write again. I knew some friend who have joined NaNoWriMo before, and after some thinking, I finally bit the bullet and joined.

I failed on my first year at 33,000+ words because I lost the juice to write for my story, plus I had school projects to finish. I felt a bit bad for losing, but one of the Filipinos I found in the forums told me I had to win the next year, or else. :P Come 2005, I came in with a pretty good idea for a story and won. I’ve won NaNoWriMo every year since.

What is it with NaNoWriMo that gets me going? I honestly don’t know. I’ve only written for the joy of writing with really no intention of submitting my work for publishing. Oh sure, I dream of getting published some day, but since I lack the formal education in writing, I just kept the drafts in my computer, showing them only to those interested in reading. I mostly use NaNoWriMo as an excuse to be creative and as a month where I have a deadline that everyone expects me to meet, as opposed to having my own deadline that I can always procrastinate in.

And it has always, always been fun. I always surprise myself year after year, learning things about myself that I didn’t know and learning when I am at my best in my writing based on what I did the rest of the year. I’d also like to believe that joining NaNoWriMo has helped me improve my writing. Not in terms of grammar of course (God knows I don’t have the perfect grip on English grammar), or even in vocabulary, but in how I write. Case in point: I used to be a very dialogue person and I really don’t like writing descriptions. After a couple of NaNo novels, I found out that I can do a decent description of a particular setting, like an office. ;)

But you know what makes my NaNoWriMo fun? It’s the community. The Filipino NaNoWriMo community (aka Pinoywrimo) started in 2005 after we found ourselves a regional lounge and nominated our first ever municipal liaisons (ML). Come 2007, I was nominated to become the new ML after our first ML, Erwin, passed away and his co-ML, Inez, went to the US for her PHd. Ever since then, I have been in charge of the craziest and most inspiring group of budding novelists in the country. :) These people make the craziness of writing 50,000+ words (or more!) in a month more fun. I love seeing what they write, I love hearing their stories on how they met their word count goal, I love seeing them and holding write-ins for them. I don’t think I’d keep coming back to NaNoWriMo if it weren’t for these writers. :)

The Pinoywrimos in 2009

Last year was especially hard NaNoWriMo for me because I experienced a serious burn out, and I think I was still traumatized by the flood that I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I lay low with all NaNoWriMo related activities after, but now that it’s October again, I can’t help but feel the buzz in the air. I know it’s crazy of me to still go do this on top of my work, personal life and all the reading I have challenged myself to do, but the year just wouldn’t be complete without writing a novel. It just wouldn’t. Like what the poster up there says, I love books so much that I am going to write one. ;)

Besides, where would all the fantasy novels I read this year go if I won’t write my first fantasy novel? :D

How about you? Are you joining NaNoWriMo This year? Let me know so we can be writing buddies! November is going to be so much fun. *grin*