Falling for Ash Montesines

AshMere

If you follow me on social media, you probably already know that that block of lines was the first thing Ash has ever said to me. I heard the pain in his voice and the saw the tears in his eyes when he said that to Meredith. So I knew I was dealing with a complex hero with deep emotions, a touch of insecurity, and a backstory that I was intrigued by. I wasn’t actually expecting to meet Ash Montesines the way he is. I was actually expecting… Lex. Pero nginitian ako ni Ash eh, kinindatan, then he told me his and Meredith’s story, and then, wala na. I couldn’t write him any other way after that hospital scene in the prologue.

I fell in love with Ash then and there but I knew he was one of those characters a reader would either love or hate. Yabang kasi eh. But I thought the most important thing is that *I* love him and that Meredith loves him. Sabi nga niya “‘yun lang ang mahalaga”. So I started writing his story. When I have free time or when I feel like it or when he wakes me up at 3 AM to tell me about his day. And I’m telling you, makulit siya. So I wrote and wrote and wrote some more.

***

Before I started writing Falling for the Billionairess, my editor talked to me about Pink & Purple, a Bookware imprint that they were going to reformat. The books would be longer and the stories could be anything, YA, new adult, paranormal, and it could be written in first person POV. At that moment, I knew I had an imprint for Ash. That was also the time when publishers were going crazy buying up Wattpad stories so I jokingly told my editor that I was going to post my story on Wattpad and if it reaches a million reads, she’d have to publish it, no questions asked. She immediately said “oo naman!”

Joke lang ‘yun, siyempre. Kailangan ko pa ring ipa-evaluate. Mamaya di pala pasado sa Bookware. To be honest, the number of reads a Wattpad story has isn’t really that huge a deal with Bookware. So long as a story fits their standards, they’d publish it. So a story could have 10 million reads or 10,000 or 100, basta pasado sa panlasa ng mga evaluators, tatanggapin nila ‘yun.

So when I first started writing Ash, I was planning on submitting him as soon as I finish the book. If he only had 1,000 reads by the time I was done, I’d still submit FFTB. I was not expecting the story to actually reach a million reads. I was not expecting this level of love from you guys for my baby boy kulit. Every time I read a new comment (yes, even the UD pleases), a new message thanking me for writing it, see new fan art (which lots of people are taking the time and making a lot of effort to create, so THANK YOU), meet a new reader, I still feel overwhelmed and touched. I love Ash and, of course, I want you to love him too, but for a character I was sure people would find arrogant and annoying, a whole LOT of you fell in love with him on Day 4. And it just… feels… like… a HUGE hug to me.

***

When I first started writing on Wattpad, I liked the idea that if and when Bookware publishes the story (because most, if not all, of my Wattpad stories will be submitted to Bookware), I would have to delete it from Wattpad. I don’t want my book to stay up there for a long time. That way only people who already know me (I was thinking 1,000 followers at most, seriously) could read the book then I’d delete it and those who’d want a copy could get one when Bookware finally releases it.

Then I wrote Ash, and suddenly, I felt bad about having to delete FFTB from Wattpad. Gusto kong forever na lang sila d’un. People have messaged me that FFTB helped them through tough times, and I cry because I know exactly what that was like. I think about others that the story could still help if I leave it on Wattpad.

I really wish I could give copies to everyone who’d ask but I can’t. I really can’t. Mahal ‘yun eh. And I’m not Mere. Saka na kapag mayaman na ako. Mamumudmod ako kahit di kayo manghingi.

Some suggested na sana self-pub na lang daw so I can do whatever I want. I could have the book printed in its entirety and I don’t have to take it down from Wattpad.

Maybe.

But the thing is I *promised* FFTB to Bookware. I can’t take it back (and I don’t want to for professional reasons, i.e. my own sense of right and wrong) just because I became more attached to it than I expected.

I *do* want to try self-publishing in the future, but I have to do a lot of planning and research. It’s just not something I’m ready for at the moment.

***

I posted on Twitter that Ash and Mere saved me. That is true.

I mentioned once (on Twitter) that I might be clinically depressed, as in I-need-medication-for-this kind of depressed. I haven’t been to a doctor so I haven’t been diagnosed with anything. And because I haven’t been diagnosed, I don’t take medication. I used to have bad panic attacks pero dinadaan ko lang sa dasal, music, journal-writing, and Ash. Last year had been pretty bad for me because the state of my mental health was just… I have no words to describe it. I was just bad. Really bad. I haven’t really talked about it in depth before because, as I said, I haven’t been to a doctor, so it might be like saying I broke my arm when I actually only strained a muscle. Being sad is different from being clinically depressed, and having mood swings doesn’t automatically make you bipolar. I didn’t want to say I was clinically depressed because I don’t know for sure.

Writing Ash and Mere saved me in ways I still can’t express. They’re not just characters to me. Sila ang therapy ko, ang outlet ko, puso ko, mga pangarap ko… sila ‘yun. And although I love all my characters, special sila Ash sa ‘kin dahil dito. And I love them for that. I love them not only because they’re fun to write, but because they are the first characters that I wrote without being worried about word count or limits, but because they became my lifeline and my source of laughter and light.

Ash and Mere. saved. me.

***

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Photo Credit: Bookware Publishing, Instagram

I went to the publisher’s office last Tuesday and asked when FFTB will be released. Ang sagot ay sa MIBF sa September. I don’t have other details yet like the price or how thick it will be, but I’ll post that as soon as I have them.

But please be reminded that a September release will mean that FFTB will have to be deleted from Wattpad as soon as, or maybe a little after, the ebook version becomes available. If you want to read/re-read it, please do so before September.

The Wattpad story is about 170K words long. The printed version is only about 110K words long. I’m sorry po. Masyado akong natuwa sa pagsulat sa kanila. All of the scenes that didn’t make it in the book will remain on Wattpad.

***

I recently announced that I was putting ALLT and THIF on hold until July. I know I don’t have to explain anything but I’m grateful enough that you dedicate time and effort to follow me and wait for my updates, I feel like the decent thing is that I should at least tell you why.

1. I’m waaaay behind my manuscript quota with MSV. And since that’s my actual day job, my manuscripts are my priority.

2. I need an adjustment period because my home life has changed drastically. (This one I won’t explain anymore. Basta may malaking pagbabago at kailangan kong masanay d’un kaya ibig sabihin ay oras, oras, oras.)

3. I also had to dedicate time to taking care of my sick puppy. And then, when he passed, I needed the time to grieve because I loved the little guy. Okay naman na ako but I decided to go on and have a Wattpad break anyway. Para no pressure na rin sa ‘kin while I catch up on other things.

I’m going to go back to Wattpad in July. That’s only a little more than a week away anyway so hopefully you can still be patient with me.

***

And last but not the least, thank YOU for being a part of my, Ash and Mere’s journey. Thank you for reading FFTB, for still reading ALLT kahit lintik sa talaga ang UDs, and thank you for keeping everyone in those books in your heart. I will forever be grateful for the crazy, amazing adventure and for everything with which these stories have blessed me. Sabi nga ni Ash “punung-puno ang puso ko”.

Thank you for falling for Ash Montesines.

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Back to Blogging (Maybe)

I’ve decided to go back to blogging about a month ago but the only thing I managed to do was make a list of topics I want to blog about. So I finally said to heck with it and just write. I’m going to warn you though that sometimes I won’t make much sense. My very first blog was just an online diary and not very interesting at all because I didn’t consider having an actual audience. I haven’t visited that site in years, pretty much like how I haven’t read the journals I kept in college. And, seriously, while I want this site to be helpful with resources for new writers blah, blah, blah, I realized that that’s not what I actually need right now. What I need is to start writing journal entries again.

Why did I stop in the first place? First because of Friendster, then Facebook, then Twitter. It was easier to just post thoughts and ideas as soon as I have them. In short, naging tamad ako ehehe And to be honest, it didn’t really help. I mean, even my daily hand-written journal entries right now are like Tweets! I want to go back to being able to actually write essays for journal entries.

I know people are becoming less and less interested in reading long paragraphs (as evidenced by the popularity of Wattpad’s Tap app) but I kinda like to talk, or write down, my thoughts… at madaldal po ako mag-isip. Obviously. Even my characters are so introspective that I have to remind myself that books need dialogue.

If you’re not interested, don’t worry. Don’t feel like you have to read every entry I post or that I’d be hurt if you don’t. There won’t be a quiz at the end. There won’t be a prize either ehehe and seriously, I’m not THAT interesting. I mostly stay home with my butt stuck on my bed or the sofa while my brain is elsewhere. As with all things, I’m writing for me (and my sanity).

Anyway, that’s that. So I have a lot of things I want to write about. I just wish I can squeeze blogging again in between my household chores, manuscripts and Wattpad.

Anyway, wish me luck!

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Ash and Mere’s BGC

My family and I went to BGC to celebrate Valentine’s Day, and I asked my sister to walk with me to my old office so I can take pictures of the places I mentioned in Ash and Mere’s books. Please excuse me because I’m not very good with photography and I also only used my phone to take the pictures but here we go…

Jollibee

Day 4: Kung saan ibinili ni Ash ng spaghetti at Yum si Mere kasi baka nagugutom na raw ang boss niya (Rizal Drive, BGC)

Starbucks

Kung saan madalas bumili ng kape si Ash. (32nd Street, BGC)

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The street going to Forbes Town Center

Burgos Circle

Forbes Town Center

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Burgos Circle (that CBTL is a setting for one of the scenes in another one of my books, Love Unscripted)

Italiannis

Kung saan nakipaglaban si Ash sa pusit nang malaman niyang magpo-propose na si Ninong Ernest kay Tita Vera. (Bonifacio High Street)

Serendra

Serendra, kung saan unang nag-away sina Ash at Mere (the “grow up” line).

Larry's

Larry’s, kung saan muntik magkasuntukan sina Ash at Craig (Bonifacio High Street)

Parking Lot_2

The taller building on your right-hand side is Net Plaza where I used to work. The parking lot in front of it is where I placed the the building where the offices of Balajadia Industries are. (31st Street cor. 1st Ave.)

Parking Lot

Another shot of the parking lot where the Balajadias’ building is in the book (31st Street cor. 1st Ave.)

I wasn’t able to take pictures of all the settings. This was an impromptu trip so I didn’t really list down every place where Ash and Mere went. I forgot to look for Johnny Rockets and Mango Tree and a few other places, so maybe next time. I also probably should have taken long shots so you can see where these places are in relation to other places… again, I’ll do it next time when I get to plan things before going off.

Also, I really enjoyed doing this. Maybe I’ll do it for my other books, too. At least the ones without fictional settings and not part of the Romancing the Globe imprint. Kailangan ko pa ng visa sa iba n’un (and lots and lots of money).

Thank you very much for reading Ash and Mere’s books on Wattpad! Sabi nga ni Marlon, “thank you for the love” ♥

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January 2016

I can’t quite believe that it’s already February 1st. The last time I checked it was only New Years. Ang bilis ng mga araw. As it is, it’s time for my monthly news summary. I know, I know, I don’t do it monthly but I’m going to try (harder) this year so that I get to use my blog again.

So, on to the news that you may or may not already know if we’re Facebook friends or if you follow me on Twitter.

1. eBookware.ph
Yup, Bookware’s e-book store has been up and running for sometime now where you can purchase copies of out-of-print (including my Sentinels series!) and upcoming books by your favorite Bookware authors in e-book format. Not only that, you can also purchase ADVANCE copies of the books you want. According to the FAQ page, the site is only currently accepting PayPal payments but I know that you can now also use GCash to pay for your purchases.

I love printed books but I also love the idea of having my whole library in my phone with me so I usually have a printed copy and an e-book of my favorite books. The printed ones stay at home, of course, but even in the middle of nowhere, I can whip out my phone and cuddle with Gideon Cross 😉

Also, if you prefer printed books, you’re in luck! Feb is Bookware’s birthday month and they’re having an anniversary sale from February 1 to 11, 2016, 8 AM to 5PM at the Bookware office.

Unit 301 3rd Floor Rizalina 2 Annex Building
1677 Quezon Avenue
Quezon City, Philippines

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Photo Credit: Bookware Publishing

 

2. Sentinels: Alpha Squad
Speaking of the Sentinels, I finished book 4 of Sentinels: Alpha Squad on the 31st of December! I’m just waiting to hear if it has been approved. I’m hoping and praying it does, of course. The next book in the lineup (as least the one I have to write) is Sentinel 17, Chris Pascua, then Sentinel 18, Donnie Llanes. Then, I have to switch back to the Alpha Squad for Danny Tremaine and Matt Riley. Hoping I can finish them in the next few months.

Again, Sentinels books 1 to 12 are available in e-book format from eBookware.ph. Books 13 to 16 are still available from NBS.

3. How to Kiss a Guy
My first book for Bookware’s Pink and Purple imprint, How to Kiss a Guy has also been listed. It is currently available in e-book format for $2.99, and as it is listed as an advance copy, I think it will also be available in print soon.

How to Kiss a Guy by elisestrella

How to Kiss a Guy by elisestrella

Also, as per my agreement with the publisher and in accordance with the copyright law, I’m going to have to remove the story from Wattpad. Thank you, THANK YOU to everyone who has read, voted for, commented on, and shared the story. I really appreciate the support. ♥

4. Notorious
It also looks like one of my Wattpad stories, Notorious is going to be released soon. It’s still available on Wattpad if you want the unedited version, but again, it will be removed as soon as it gets released.

If you’re a new reader, this is an EROTIC romance novel. Makulit na kasi lagi ko ‘yung sinasabi pero better safe than sorry. You can’t tell me I didn’t warn you 😉

5. Wattpad
I don’t really ask for feedback from readers because I don’t want them to feel obligated to give a review after they’ve read the book. I also don’t want to put them in the uncomfortable position of having to evade or lie if and when they didn’t like the one of my books. But I really, really appreciate each and every feedback, Wattpad comment, message, Tweet and e-mail that I’ve ever received.

This is the most recent feedback from a reader that had me teary-eyed. I tried several times to write a thank you note to the reader who dedicated this chapter to me but I really have no words to express how touch I was to read this. So again, thank you, blue_soul18! Link to the feedback is here.

She also made this video for the story. MARAMING SALAMAT!

What I’m Up To
Currently, I’m working on a new MSV Desire manuscript, a best friends story that I wish would finally let me have the best friends end up with each other. I’m also still working on my Wattpad stories. I’m hoping I can start (and post) a new one I don’t know when but soon I hope.

To everyone asking if Ash and Mere’s books will ever be published, my answer s I really don’t know. I want Falling for the Billonairess to be published of course, and my editor at Bookware knows about the book but to be honest, at 169K+ words, it’s too long to be published and I’m having a hard time editing and deleting scenes to fit FFTB into one book. But we’ll see. In the meantime, THANK YOU! It currently has 1.25M reads and 36.7K votes, thanks to the old readers who have read and re-read the book over and over, and to the new readers who are are recommending the book like crazy.

I think that about covers my January! I hope you had a great month, and that you have an awesome February ♥

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Always.

When I wrote the outline for my Angelos series (a paranormal series that I have on hold since 2009), Metatron (an angel, not a Transformer) had a role in the series. The Metatron is an archangel and known as “the Chancellor of Heaven”. I also read somewhere that he’s the voice of God. In the 1999 movie, Dogma, Metatron was played by Alan Rickman. So when I wrote the role, no matter how hard I tried to change how my Metatron looked like, he would always end up looking and sounding like Alan Rickman in my head. So I gave up and let him have his way.

alan rickman metatron

I also loved Alan Rickman in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, in Galaxy Quest, in Love Actually, and I loved hearing his voice in Alice in Wonderland and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. But aside from Metatron, the other role that I believe was written for no one but Alan Rickman was Professor Severus Snape.

Alan Rickman passed away today and I mourned him the way I mourned Professor Snape in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

to the well organized mind

To my Professor Snape, my Metatron. Rest in Peace.

raise your wands

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