Prologue

On October 19th, 2007, I received the very first of 90+ emails telling me that my manuscript has been approved for publishing. It wasn’t the actual publishing date of my book but every year since then, I’ve considered October 19th my author anniversary.

I’ve written 92 books in 13 years, none of them have been returned or rejected. I’ve been lucky to find a publisher who believes in my work and is willing to release them as I wrote them. And I will always be thankful.

This year, however, I’ve decided to try something new. For me.

Years before, while working on a book we’re tag team editing, my editor, E, told me that she wanted me to self-pub a book. “Kahit isa lang,” she said. “Subukan mo.” Since than, self-publishing had always been at the back of my mind, but since I was already traditionally published, and I was happy to just pass manuscript after manuscript, and have the publisher worry about the editing, cover, promotion, marketing and sales. I didn’t take it seriously. Though I do want to self-publish a book. Just not “now”. It was always “in the future”.

Then 2020 happened.

I almost stopped writing this year because I thought writing something light and fluffy was pointless and even disrespectful to the millions of people who lost loved ones, who lost their jobs and livelihood, who lost hope. It took me some time to realize, and to convince myself, that this was exactly the time when people need light and fluffy. So I went back to Wattpad, and went back to writing, realizing that no, I can’t not do it. I can’t not tell stories. I can’t stop doing what I do because writing really is my life.
But, again, with the pandemic and the recession, I’d have to adjust my plans—ALL my plans—for the year, and the next few years.

I’ve decided to start self-publishing my books. Not just one of them, but most, if not all, of my future manuscripts.

Well, at first it was just one book. Ayie, Tin, and I talked about self-publishing Meredith (Falling for Ash Montesines) first. I wrote Mere’s story without any expectation that she would be published because Ash’s story have already been bought so I know I couldn’t sell her to my publisher. That was because it didn’t occur to me to self-publish her story. Hey, I just wanted to share it. Posting it on Wattpad was enough for me. But since E put the idea in my head, a few people were asking for printed copies because they wanted o hug Mere, and then Tin and Ayie put accelerant into the flame, I took self-publishing seriously.

We were in the initial stages of planning, I’ve started editing the book and they were canvassing for printers, when life threw another curve ball into the mix, and I had to adjust the plans again. An email exchange with my publisher later, I was able to pull out three of the books I submitted to them this year, and my self-pub plans now not only included printed copies of my Wattpad books for people who wanted to add them to their collection, but my maybe ALL of my future books as well.

I was lost for a while, overwhelmed, anxious (well, more anxious than normal), but then Ayie and Tin were there to get me to focus. They helped me adjust my plans, kept me in line, brought me back to the present when my mind wandered (usually to food), and two weeks later, we’re in the final stages of editing for my first self-published ebook.

My self-pub journey moved incredibly slow at first, then incredibly fast because here were are. I have the sort-of final file for the manuscript open in another window, and another document file is up with the very first author’s note I’m going to be writing that would be included in a book.

I want to thank Ayie and Tin here, but I’d like to save it for the thank you note. But I would say THANK YOU to them because without them, this wouldn’t be possible. At least it wouldn’t be possible this soon. And I want to thank them not only for their help in the book, but for their help in… everything. Without them, I really would have been lost.

Thirteen years. Thirteen incredible years telling stories, meeting new characters, finding out who I am and what I believe in through those stories, learning, finding out where I had been wrong, evolving, becoming a better writer and a better person, virtual-hugging readers through the books to show them that they weren’t alone, and that love exists everywhere not just between two people. I will never give that up, and I’m excited to learn new things and improve myself and my craft. By moving on to self-publishing, I am not closing the book, just adding a new chapter. And I will work harder and with more purpose so I could continue writing stories that would entertain and inspire and, hopefully, help the reader the way writing these stories have helped me through everything.

I am humbly asking for your support, the way you have supported me and my books for the last thirteen years, in this new adventure. Sana samahan pa rin po ninyo ako.

Thank you!

🥂

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JUSQ

Well, hello there! LONG time no hear from me. At least here. If you follow me elsewhere… nevermind.

I’m (semi-)back online, posting on Wattpad, complaining on Twitter, sharing my cats with the world on Instagram, listening to SHINee on Spotify, replaying SuperM’s 100 on YouTube, and ignoring Facebook. My social media life probably won’t last, but you can pretty much catch me online often these days. If you want to leave a message, Twitter, Wattpad and IG are probably the best places to because I read messages there.

ICYMI, I posted Geoffrey’s story on Wattpad. You remember him? The eldest unico hijo? CEO of Arellano Industries, kuya to James, David and Renner? Well, I finished his book early this year, and submitted it to the publisher a few months ago. The book’s been completed so if you want to read it, it’s called An Heiress for Geoffrey.

I actually had a LOT of plans for 2020 but the pandemic happened + depression and anxiety (not even related to the pandemic), and now the recession… let’s just say I’ve been having problems coping. I actually stopped posting on Wattpad earlier this year because with everything that has been happening, I sincerely believed that whatever I do would be meaningless in the face of a global crisis. That was my depression talking though. I realized later that the world actually needed artists, storytellers, musicians. etc. more now than probably ever. So let’s just say I kicked my depression’s ass (for the time being) and got to work. I’m taking baby steps though, so matumal pa rin ang UDs.

I’m also trying to work on the foundations of my 2020 plans. I’m starting with Never Stop Falling | LexIca and The Harder I Fall | CharLon. I’m doing my best to update both stories every other week (alternately). Please keep in mind that I’m doing this between being a pet momma to eight cats and a dog, and a house ate to a sister who goes to work, so either I’d have to skip days or post late, OR the updates are short. But I’ll do my best. I’ll also… actually, I already AM working on the other books because I do want to finish ALL on-going stories so I can start the others.

Oh, I would also like to thank the people who “bought coffee” for me through my Buy Me a Coffee account. THANK YOU. It’s also been difficult for me, financially. Like now, I’m already anxious about where I’m going to get money to pay the electric bill again.

Let’s just say that I feel like I’m part of the 45% of adult Filipinos who lost their jobs this year despite not actually really losing my job. I’m a freelancer so I only have a “job” when I actually work, but when you work and then you don’t get paid… I guess that’s not even “unemployment” ano? So thank you to everyone who has bought me a coffee, or several cups of coffee. 

I’m thinking of something to do to say thank you. It would probably be advance reads on unreleased books or drafts, but it would be something exclusive to everyone who supported and is supporting me at BMAC.

I posted on Twitter that I realized that the morbid reason why I wanted to write as much as I can as fast as I can is that I might not make it to 2021, and it’s unfair to the people in my head if I can’t write their stories. I still feel that way but as I said, it’s probably regular pandemic/recession anxiety. With my financial problems and the state of my mental health and my lack of life skills and a vision, I’m still better off than a lot of Filipinos who lost loved ones or their livelihood or their homes. My sister and I still have a home, food and water, electricity (although I’m sure malapit na ‘yung maputol for non-payment but whatevs. I’ll deal with that later), our cats and dog, and our family kahit malayo sila. I’m still thankful though my heart bleeds for everyone. I just hope and pray and trust that we can kick 2020’s ass, too. 

Anyway, I have a baby cat to feed and lunch to cook and an update to write, so I’m stopping here.

Wash your hands. Use alcohol. Wear your masks and face shields. Take care of yourself and of each other. We can do this.

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Catching Up.

Hi, guys! Welcome back to my channel. HAHAHA feeling vlogger amput—

Si Ash pala ‘to, guest blogger ni Ate Elise. Kumusta na raw kayo? Miss na niya kayo. Miss ko na rin ako pero okay lang naman ako, Ate. Tenk yu.

Ah, si Ate Elise? Okay naman siya. Huwag daw kayo masyado mag-alala sa kanya. Alam n’yo naman si Ate. Minsan may pinagdaraanan kasi talaga siya at kailangan lang niya eh katahimikan, kapayapaan, hugs at potato chips. ‘Yun ang bumubuhay sa kanya ngayon. Padala kayo ng maraming virtual potato chips.

Sorry raw kasi hindi niya maharap ang Wattpad. Sabi ko ako na lang ang magkukuwento ng kuwento nina Kuya at Marlon kasi alam ko naman kung ano nangyari di ba? Ayaw naman niya. Actually, ayaw NILA lahat. Huwag daw ako makialam sabi ni Marlon. Ako na nga ang nagmagandang loob!

Kumusta na raw kayo sabi ni Ate. Sana safe daw kayo sa sakit at hindi matigas ang mga ulo n’yo na labas kayo nang labas kahit may quarantine. Except nga naman kung frontliners kayo, in which case, THANK YOU for your service. Mga bayani kayong tunay. Sana safe kayo at healthy, at sana ibigay sa inyo ng universe ang nararapat na reward ninyo gaya ng araw-araw na masarap na ulam.

Kaming pamilya at barkada? Okay lang kami kahit hiwa-hiwalay. Ako, si Mere at si Mace, dito kami kina Daddy Eman lumipat bago nag-lockdown. Si Kuya, inuwi ‘yung baby niya sa Makati. Si Marlon, nasa San Juan (wawa), kasi si Charles nasa kanila sa QC. Sa QC din sina Hank at Laura. Si Alessa, kasama ni Lester sa pamilya niya sa San Juan din. N’ung una pa lang na nabalitang may kaso ng COVID-19 sa BGC, lumipat na kami. Namiyenan na ako. 

Okay naman kami. Si Mere ang may trabaho ngayon. Hindi naman siya pumapasok pero madalas may meetings siya. Hello raw. Si Mason, nag-celebrate siya ng second birthday niya sa bahay. Marami-rami kami rito kina Dad kasi nandito rin ‘yung pamilya nina Kuya Midel, nanay ni Kuya Armand, saka pamilya ni Kuya Randy. Maayos naman kami lahat. Walang may sakit saka bantay-sarado ang mga junior at senior citizens. Hello, Manang Thelms! Bawal kang lumabas hanggang next year!

Madalas kami lumabas ni Kuya Midel at ni Kuya Lex kasi nagdidstribute kami ng relief goods sa mga trabahador namin na puwede namin dalhan ng pagkain. Ngayon lang namin naramdaman ni Kuya Lex kung gaano karami sa mga trabahador namin ang inaanak namin ang mga anak kasi linggo-linggong kahon-kahon ng gatas at diapers ang binibili namin kay Ate Kaye. Tinanong na nga niya kami kung may mga anak ba kami sa labas na hindi niya alam. ‘Tapos nito pang buwan, birthday nina Mace at ni Kuya kaya may pa-spaghetti pa kami bawat relief pack ng mga trabahador. Dito nga lang sa malapit ang nabibigyan namin kaya may pa-voucher na lang kami d’un sa mga nasa malalayo. Sila na lang ang bumili sa pinakamalapit na branches ng grocery ni Ate ng kailangan nila.

Ang paborito ngayon ni Mace eh ‘yung pag-uwi namin ni Kuya Midel, nag-hihintay na siya na may hawak na hose ‘tapos bobombahan niya kaming dalawa ni Kuya Midel ng tubig habang nakatayo kami sa garden. Tuwang-tuwa si Mason kapag gan’un! Kaya di ko sigurado kung gusto niyang maging bumbero o hardinero na mahilig magdilig ng mga halaman. Kung mahilig siya magdilig, aba, eh di mana kay Papa! Ahahaha Pagkaligo namin ni Kuya Midel, saka lang kami puwedeng lumapit sa bahay. Kaya wala kaming naiuuwing sakit.

Okay lang din ang mga biyenan ko. Masaya si Mommy Marianne kasi maraming tao sa bahay kaya marami siyang naaalagaan. Si Daddy naman, siya lang siguro ‘yung makikita kong negosyante ngayon na nakakangiti pa. Wala pa kasing empleyado sa lahat ng sites ng Balajadia Industries ang nag-re-report na nagkasakit. Hindi pa raw niya iniisip ‘yung pagkalugi, sabi ni Dad. Basta raw kaya pa niya magpasahod ng mga empleyado, okay lang daw ang kompanya. Eh kaya talaga niya kasi may Employee Assistance Fund ang Balajadia Industries. May garantisadong sahod ang lahat ng mga empleyado up to three months kung sakaling may ganitong pangyayari (pandemic, giyera, natural disaster, alien invasion, end of the world…) na walang trabaho at hihinto ang ekonomiya. Kaya okay naman sila sa kompanya.

Gusto ko tuloy lumipat ulit sa kanila.

Joke lang.

Medyo.

Kami namang mga Montesines, si Ate Kaye lang ang may kita ngayon pero linggo-linggo kaming may grocery showcase galing sa kanya. Kami lang din ang puwedeng mang-hoard sa grocery niya myehehe pero kasi nga, binibigay naman namin sa mga trabahador. ‘Tapos mabait din talaga si Ate kasi marami siyang pa-discount ngayon.
Nagdala nga akong ID n’ung isang araw para bumili na naman ng gatas, bibigyan din ako ng discount! Natawa ako eh. Pinagamit ko na lang ‘yung discount ko para d’un sa tatay na sumunod sa ‘kin sa pila. Tuwang-tuwa nga eh. Anim daw kasi ‘yung anak niya. ‘Yung natipid niya, puwede daw niya ibili pa ulit ng gatas sa susunod.

Nand’un din silang lahat sa bahay, sina Mommy at Daddy, at ‘yung mga bata.

Si Ate Mari pala kasama ni Kuya Matt. Sa Coronado sila inabot ng lockdown.

Ang hirap ng buhay ngayon talaga. Nakakatakot na nakakalungkot na nakaka-iyak kapag makikita mo ‘yung mga kababayan natin na naghihirap at nagugutom.

Kaya nga sabi ko rin kay Ate Elise, huwag na muna siya mag-online masyado. Kasi kilala ko ‘yun. Kapag nagsimula ‘yun mag-alala, pati mga issue na dapat eh mayor na ang namomroblema, proproblemahin n’un. Eh ilang buwan pa naman na siyang malungkot bago pa nagkaroon ng pandemic. Sabi ko sa kanya alagaan muna niya ang sarili niya. Pero hindi ibig sabihin na hindi niya alam ang mga nangyayari. Huwag mo banggitin sa kanya na naniniwala ang gobyerno na may “flattening of the curve” kasi iinit ang ulo n’un. 

Nagsusulat siya ngayon ng manuscripts para sa Bookware. Gusto raw kasi niya bumawi sa publisher niya, at na magsulat na walang pressure o expectations ng immediate feedback. Nai-Premium na niya ‘yung tatlong dapat eh last year pa niya natapos, ‘yung SuJu Lees niya. ‘Tapos naka-tatlo pang Premium books na rin siya, at malapit na niya matapos ‘yung pang-apat.

Nag-so-sorry siya ulit na hindi niya maharap ‘yung Wattpad. Inaatake daw kasi siya ng anxiety kapag iniisip niya. Saka lumalabas daw sa kuwento ‘yung mood niya kaya binubura niya lahat ng nasusulat niyang updates. Hindi raw kasi gan’un ang gusto niyang mood at tono ng mga kuwento. Sabi ko Sentinels na lang muna isulat niya, o kaya ‘yung pamilya nina Aaron. Para puwedeng magpasabog o kaya mangain ng kaluluwa. Kung ako lang, kahit naman ikuwento lang niya kung paano mag-CR si Kuya Lex, babasahin ko pa rin eh. Pero ayoko rin naman na hindi siya komportable habang nagsusulat kaya sabi ko, siya na ang bahala. Magsulat siya sa Wattpad kapag masaya na siya ulit magsulat sa Wattpad. Kapag wala nang kaba. Nahihiya rin kasi talaga siya na ngayon pa siya dumaan sa ganito, kung kailan mas maganda raw sana na nagsi-share siya ng kahit limang minuto lang na katatawanan sa isang update habang madilim ang mundo. Sabi ko okay sana ‘yun kung okay lang din siya. Kaya huwag na niya problemahin. Makakabalik din naman siya. At nand’un pa rin ako, naghihintay na may hawak na popcorn.

Gusto niya rin daw mag-thank you sa mga nag-me-message sa kanya, sa mga nagpapadala ng mga DM sa Twitter, at special mention daw kay Ayie at kay Tin na textmates niya pag nakakapagpa-load siya imbes na ubusin ‘yung dala niyang pera na pang-load sana sa egg pie. Kahit di raw siya nakaka-reply lagi, excited siya makatanggap ng texts ninyo kahit one-liners lang. Sa kanya, mahigpit na mahigpit na hugs na raw ‘yung mga messages na nagpapalakas sa kanya.

Gusto lang niya malampasan ‘to na alam ko namang kayang-kaya niya. May mga  nalampasan na siyang mas malala pa.

So, ‘yun ang kuwento. ‘Yun ang pinagkakaabalahan namin ngayon. Sa susunod, baka si Kuya naman daw ang ipag-blog niya, sabi ni Ate. O si Marlon. O si Lester. Siyempre, sana ako ulit kasi ako ang peborit niya eh. Pero huwag mo sabihin kay Marlon kasi magtatampo ‘yung naglalakad na carpet na ‘yun.

A

Hi, guys! Welcome back to my channel. HAHAHA feeling vlogger amput—

Si Ash pala ‘to, guest blogger ni Ate Elise. Kumusta na raw kayo? Miss na niya kayo. Miss ko na rin ako pero okay lang naman ako, Ate. Tenk yu.

Ah, si Ate Elise? Okay naman siya. Huwag daw kayo masyado mag-alala sa kanya. Alam n’yo naman si Ate. Minsan may pinagdaraanan kasi talaga siya at kailangan lang niya eh katahimikan, kapayapaan, hugs at potato chips. ‘Yun ang bumubuhay sa kanya ngayon. Padala kayo ng maraming virtual potato chips.

Sorry raw kasi hindi niya maharap ang Wattpad. Sabi ko ako na lang ang magkukuwento ng kuwento nina Kuya at Marlon kasi alam ko naman kung ano nangyari di ba? Ayaw naman niya. Actually, ayaw NILA lahat. Huwag daw ako makialam sabi ni Marlon. Ako na nga ang nagmagandang loob!

Kumusta na raw kayo sabi ni Ate. Sana safe daw kayo sa sakit at hindi matigas ang mga ulo n’yo na labas kayo nang labas kahit may quarantine. Except nga naman kung frontliners kayo, in which case, THANK YOU for your service. Mga bayani kayong tunay. Sana safe kayo at healthy, at sana ibigay sa inyo ng universe ang nararapat na reward ninyo gaya ng araw-araw na masarap na ulam.

Kaming pamilya at barkada? Okay lang kami kahit hiwa-hiwalay. Ako, si Mere at si Mace, dito kami kina Daddy Eman lumipat bago nag-lockdown. Si Kuya, inuwi ‘yung baby niya sa Makati. Si Marlon, nasa San Juan (wawa), kasi si Charles nasa kanila sa QC. Sa QC din sina Hank at Laura. Si Alessa, kasama ni Lester sa pamilya niya sa San Juan din. N’ung una pa lang na nabalitang may kaso ng COVID-19 sa BGC, lumipat na kami. Namiyenan na ako. 

Okay naman kami. Si Mere ang may trabaho ngayon. Hindi naman siya pumapasok pero madalas may meetings siya. Hello raw. Si Mason, nag-celebrate siya ng second birthday niya sa bahay. Marami-rami kami rito kina Dad kasi nandito rin ‘yung pamilya nina Kuya Midel, nanay ni Kuya Armand, saka pamilya ni Kuya Randy. Maayos naman kami lahat. Walang may sakit saka bantay-sarado ang mga junior at senior citizens. Hello, Manang Thelms! Bawal kang lumabas hanggang next year!

Madalas kami lumabas ni Kuya Midel at ni Kuya Lex kasi nagdidstribute kami ng relief goods sa mga trabahador namin na puwede namin dalhan ng pagkain. Ngayon lang namin naramdaman ni Kuya Lex kung gaano karami sa mga trabahador namin ang inaanak namin ang mga anak kasi linggo-linggong kahon-kahon ng gatas at diapers ang binibili namin kay Ate Kaye. Tinanong na nga niya kami kung may mga anak ba kami sa labas na hindi niya alam. ‘Tapos nito pang buwan, birthday nina Mace at ni Kuya kaya may pa-spaghetti pa kami bawat relief pack ng mga trabahador. Dito nga lang sa malapit ang nabibigyan namin kaya may pa-voucher na lang kami d’un sa mga nasa malalayo. Sila na lang ang bumili sa pinakamalapit na branches ng grocery ni Ate ng kailangan nila.

Ang paborito ngayon ni Mace eh ‘yung pag-uwi namin ni Kuya Midel, nag-hihintay na siya na may hawak na hose ‘tapos bobombahan niya kaming dalawa ni Kuya Midel ng tubig habang nakatayo kami sa garden. Tuwang-tuwa si Mason kapag gan’un! Kaya di ko sigurado kung gusto niyang maging bumbero o hardinero na mahilig magdilig ng mga halaman. Kung mahilig siya magdilig, aba, eh di mana kay Papa! Ahahaha Pagkaligo namin ni Kuya Midel, saka lang kami puwedeng lumapit sa bahay. Kaya wala kaming naiuuwing sakit.

Okay lang din ang mga biyenan ko. Masaya si Mommy Marianne kasi maraming tao sa bahay kaya marami siyang naaalagaan. Si Daddy naman, siya lang siguro ‘yung makikita kong negosyante ngayon na nakakangiti pa. Wala pa kasing empleyado sa lahat ng sites ng Balajadia Industries ang nag-re-report na nagkasakit. Hindi pa raw niya iniisip ‘yung pagkalugi, sabi ni Dad. Basta raw kaya pa niya magpasahod ng mga empleyado, okay lang daw ang kompanya. Eh kaya talaga niya kasi may Employee Assistance Fund ang Balajadia Industries. May garantisadong sahod ang lahat ng mga empleyado up to three months kung sakaling may ganitong pangyayari (pandemic, giyera, natural disaster, alien invasion, end of the world…) na walang trabaho at hihinto ang ekonomiya. Kaya okay naman sila sa kompanya.

Gusto ko tuloy lumipat ulit sa kanila.

Joke lang.

Medyo.

Kami namang mga Montesines, si Ate Kaye lang ang may kita ngayon pero linggo-linggo kaming may grocery showcase galing sa kanya. Kami lang din ang puwedeng mang-hoard sa grocery niya myehehe pero kasi nga, binibigay naman namin sa mga trabahador. ‘Tapos mabait din talaga si Ate kasi marami siyang pa-discount ngayon.
Nagdala nga akong ID n’ung isang araw para bumili na naman ng gatas, bibigyan din ako ng discount! Natawa ako eh. Pinagamit ko na lang ‘yung discount ko para d’un sa tatay na sumunod sa ‘kin sa pila. Tuwang-tuwa nga eh. Anim daw kasi ‘yung anak niya. ‘Yung natipid niya, puwede daw niya ibili pa ulit ng gatas sa susunod.

Nand’un din silang lahat sa bahay, sina Mommy at Daddy, at ‘yung mga bata.

Si Ate Mari pala kasama ni Kuya Matt. Sa Coronado sila inabot ng lockdown.

Ang hirap ng buhay ngayon talaga. Nakakatakot na nakakalungkot na nakaka-iyak kapag makikita mo ‘yung mga kababayan natin na naghihirap at nagugutom.

Kaya nga sabi ko rin kay Ate Elise, huwag na muna siya mag-online masyado. Kasi kilala ko ‘yun. Kapag nagsimula ‘yun mag-alala, pati mga issue na dapat eh mayor na ang namomroblema, proproblemahin n’un. Eh ilang buwan pa naman na siyang malungkot bago pa nagkaroon ng pandemic. Sabi ko sa kanya alagaan muna niya ang sarili niya. Pero hindi ibig sabihin na hindi niya alam ang mga nangyayari. Huwag mo banggitin sa kanya na naniniwala ang gobyerno na may “flattening of the curve” kasi iinit ang ulo n’un. 

Nagsusulat siya ngayon ng manuscripts para sa Bookware. Gusto raw kasi niya bumawi sa publisher niya, at na magsulat na walang pressure o expectations ng immediate feedback. Nai-Premium na niya ‘yung tatlong dapat eh last year pa niya natapos, ‘yung SuJu Lees niya. ‘Tapos naka-tatlo pang Premium books na rin siya, at malapit na niya matapos ‘yung pang-apat.

Nag-so-sorry siya ulit na hindi niya maharap ‘yung Wattpad. Inaatake daw kasi siya ng anxiety kapag iniisip niya. Saka lumalabas daw sa kuwento ‘yung mood niya kaya binubura niya lahat ng nasusulat niyang updates. Hindi raw kasi gan’un ang gusto niyang mood at tono ng mga kuwento. Sabi ko Sentinels na lang muna isulat niya, o kaya ‘yung pamilya nina Aaron. Para puwedeng magpasabog o kaya mangain ng kaluluwa. Kung ako lang, kahit naman ikuwento lang niya kung paano mag-CR si Kuya Lex, babasahin ko pa rin eh. Pero ayoko rin naman na hindi siya komportable habang nagsusulat kaya sabi ko, siya na ang bahala. Magsulat siya sa Wattpad kapag masaya na siya ulit magsulat sa Wattpad. Kapag wala nang kaba. Nahihiya rin kasi talaga siya na ngayon pa siya dumaan sa ganito, kung kailan mas maganda raw sana na nagsi-share siya ng kahit limang minuto lang na katatawanan sa isang update habang madilim ang mundo. Sabi ko okay sana ‘yun kung okay lang din siya. Kaya huwag na niya problemahin. Makakabalik din naman siya. At nand’un pa rin ako, naghihintay na may hawak na popcorn.

Gusto niya rin daw mag-thank you sa mga nag-me-message sa kanya, sa mga nagpapadala ng mga DM sa Twitter, at special mention daw kay Ayie at kay Tin na textmates niya pag nakakapagpa-load siya imbes na ubusin ‘yung dala niyang pera na pang-load sana sa egg pie. Kahit di raw siya nakaka-reply lagi, excited siya makatanggap ng texts ninyo kahit one-liners lang. Sa kanya, mahigpit na mahigpit na hugs na raw ‘yung mga messages na nagpapalakas sa kanya.

Gusto lang niya malampasan ‘to na alam ko namang kayang-kaya niya. May mga  nalampasan na siyang mas malala pa.

So, ‘yun ang kuwento. ‘Yun ang pinagkakaabalahan namin ngayon. Sa susunod, baka si Kuya naman daw ang ipag-blog niya, sabi ni Ate. O si Marlon. O si Lester. Siyempre, sana ako ulit kasi ako ang peborit niya eh. Pero huwag mo sabihin kay Marlon kasi magtatampo ‘yung naglalakad na carpet na ‘yun.

Anyway, ingat kayo lagi. Huwag muna kayo lumabas kung hindi kailangan kahit pag i-lift na ang quarantine ah. Hindi porke wala nang quarantine eh ibig nang sabihin wala na ring COVID-19. Buti na ‘yung safe pa rin tayo. Huwag muna kayo lalapit sa ibang tao. Laging magsuot ng mask. Laging maghugas ng mga kamay at mag-alkohol at sanitizer. Kita-kita tayo sa new normal at sama-sama tayong mag-adjust.

Muli, sa mga frontliners natin, sa mga doktor, nurses, lahat ng health workers, hanggang sa guards at mga service masters ng mga ospital, sa mga pulis at mga sundalo, sa mga nagtatrabaho sa mga groceries at food industry, sa mga riders at drivers ng delivery services, sa mga garbage collectors, basta sa lahat ng mga nagtatrabaho sa kalagitnaan ng krisis na ‘to, maraming, maraming salamat.

Hanggang sa muli, mga bata! Ito po si Kuya Ash na nagsasabing ang batang makulit, kung saan-saan naiipit! And I… thank you! Paalam!

(Sana pala nagpatulong ako kay Alessa sa intro at outro. Iba na kapag influencer eh.)




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Back to Writing

Last 2019, I took a loooong break from writing. I only submitted one book, The Mansion, which is still available to read for free on Wattpad, a translation job, and a couple of editing jobs. I managed to update my Wattpad stories a few times, and wrote a few journal entries every month, but mostly I just stepped back from writing.

That was probably a mistake.

Because it’s so hard to get my writing groove back! 😭

Why did I stop in the first place? It wasn’t a lack of things to write. I have five on-going Wattpad stories. Six if you include IB2, and I pretty much know where all the stories are going. I have three manuscripts that I asked my publisher to hold back because I was going to expand the stories. I have the next three books for that same series lined up, another four-book series, Alpha Squad 5 and 6, Unico Hijos Book 3… and those are only the books that have been on my to-write-like-right-now list because they’ve been in my to-write list for YEARS!

And I have a lot of other manuscripts lined up too. Paranormal romances, more military romances, YA, NA… so yeah, it wasn’t a matter of not having anything to write.

So what was it? Why did I stop?

The simple, honest answer is… I got tired. *gasp*

No, I didn’t get tired of telling stories, I just got tired of… typing. I’ve been writing professionally since 2007. (I’ve been writing sing 1988 but that’s beside the point.) I took an early break in 2008 and finished only two books that year, but I was employed then and barely had time to write. When I decided to write full time, I wrote for the next nine years, non-stop. I’m not as prolific as other writers but I averaged about 8 books a year. And really, I thought I *needed* that break.

I also kinda lost motivation for a while. Those are more personal reasons, and while I’m open about the state of my mental health, some things are better left unshared over the Internet. Especially if they involve other people who have no idea that they’re involved in my personal issues. Heh.

But I love writing. I love making up stories, telling stories, living in made up stories. I will NEVER give up writing though I know now that I do need to take breaks. So while I don’t regret my hiatus last year, I regret how long I took to get back to writing.

I’m slowly getting there. Or at least I think I am. I spent the first week of January writing journal entries, 2020 plans, plots and manuscript outlines, just so I can get used to writing again, especially writing manuscripts. I wrote on Wattpad last year and all of my stories there are written in the first person POV. Adjusting to the 3rd person POV proves a little more challenging than I expected.

But I’m on day 4 of manuscript writing today, and for the first time this year, I wrote more than 2K words for a manuscript written in the 3rd person POV, AND I DON’T FEEL LIKE IT SUCKS!

Doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck, just that I don’t feel like it sucks. I’ll get to the point where it actually doesn’t suck eventually, but for now, I’m contented.

Hopefully, I can finish this book tomorrow because I only have room for one more chapter (roughly 2,000 more words). Then off to the next book…

I did say I was going to take a break after every manuscript, but I can’t with this series because this was supposed to be released last 2018. My publisher has been really patient with me with this. Also, these manuscripts are not new. I only have to add scenes to them because I asked if they can be released as part of the Premium imprint rather than the regular 20K-word books. I didn’t have to start from scratch.

Also, I missed writing. I missed working. I missed getting lost in a story that I have no idea that the movie I’ve been playing in the background had looped, or what time it was when I surface, or that I haven’t had lunch or dinner because I was busy. I even miss the pagod, and the backache, and the aching wrists. I’m looking forward to the satisfaction of feeling all the aches and pains because I spent a minimum of four hours in front of the laptop.

At the moment, I’m cautiously happy that I’m getting back to it. I’m looking forward to that time when I can write The End at the last page of a manuscript again. I’ll do that soon, I promise.

Thank you to every one who has sent me words of encouragement and love on my social media accounts. I really appreciate the support. I’m motivated and made to feel confident, and it means a lot to me. Thank you!

Anyway, I’m going back to work. Maybe I can squeeze in a few more words (or a hundred) before I need to go to bed.

I hope you get to rest! Sleep well and good night! 🌙

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NaNoWriMo 2019

It’s Halloween! 🎃👻 But because I don’t celebrate Halloween like other people do, the end of October means something different to me. It means NaNoWriMo! 😱

I just signed into my NaNoWriMo account and it said that I’ve been NaNo-ing for the last 8 years. I’ve won a few times, lost a few times… but every time had been a fun experience that I wish I can do every month of the year.If you still don’t know what NaNoWriMo is it’s National Novel Writing Month which is every November. It’s when writers all over sit down with their computers, phones, typewriters, pens and papers, tablets (both electronic and stone if that works for you), and any and all writing instruments to write their hearts out to finish 50,000 words in 30 days.

The first time I tried NaNoWriMo, I wrote 50K words in a month. I didn’t finish the novel then, but that’s actually not the goal. The goal is the 50,000 words. I did, eventually, finish the book at 75,000+ words. It was a Harry Potter fanfic, if I remember my NaNoWriMo novels correctly.Last year, I also finished my NaNo project, The Mansion. It’s still up on Wattpad at the moment but it’s been accepted by my publisher so yay, me! I didn’t finish it in November either but I did finish the 50,000 words within the month. It ended up being an 80K-word novel that I finished a few months later.

This year, I’m excited to finally start a romantic historical fantasy novel that I’ve actually conceptualized a LOOOOONG time ago. Like more than twenty years ago. I found my old notebooks where I wrote plot ideas when I was a teenager, and when I read the plot idea for this, the story just reshaped itself in my head.The original story was supposed to be set in 15th century England. You know, with castles and knights and stuff? But while I sat there, notebook in hand, it just started to rewrite itself.

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I’ve decided to start the story in 18th century Pasig City instead… at least as of my planning stage. I’m calling it This World Where You Exist which is actually taken from my favorite SHINee song, 君がいる世界 (Kimi Ga Iru Sekai, The World Where You Exist).

I still consider myself a Pasiguena even though I haven’t lived there for more than half my life already. My father’s family is from Pasig. My great grandmother who was born in the 1800’s (She died at the age of 103. She was amazing.) had lived there all her life, and my relatives still live in Pasig. If I had a choice and a chance, I’d move back.Anyway, I don’t want to give away too much of the story, but as of now, the main character is about eighteen years old, and the book will be written from her point of view.

I’ll be posting it on Wattpad anyway so if you want to read it, you can read it from there, but I have to warn you that my NaNoWriMo novels only get the barest edits in November. Again, my goal is to write 50,000 words. It doesn’t matter if they make much sense. So in this book… be prepared for fillers! Historical fillers! BUWAHAHAHA

I’m really excited to start this book, and really nervous as well, but I know I’m going to enjoy writing it. I’ll also be writing for me first. If you find any errors or something sounds wrong, please comment about it and I’d take note, but I’d come back to fix it in December… or if/when I finish the book.

I need to finish writing 1,667 words a day for the novel but I won’t post every day. I’d post after every chapter is finished. My chapters can be as long as 5,000 words so… Just don’t expect to read an update every day. Parang di n’yo naman ako kilala. 😅

I’d also have to remind you (and myself) that along with this novel, I still have to update Marlon’s, Lex’s, and Obie’s books, AND finish my Lees (tentatively title Soju Sessions Series) book. Tbis means I’m probably, hopefully, going to be offline a lot of times except for research. If you see me online please tell me to get off Twitter to write. 😅

Sooooo… wish me luck!

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