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Writing Now

Writing Now

Bad Dreams

Some time ago, my friend and fellow author Anne Plaza asked me if I could find my #StrangeLit feels again for a short story to contribute. This came out and now it’s up on the Philippine Genre Stories website, hurray!

Note: not a romance though, k? 🙂

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My lola always told me that if I had bad dreams I shouldn’t tell anyone about them. Talking about them meant spreading the seed, sharing the terror. And I wouldn’t wish that on any one, would I? That would be just mean. My dreams were vivid things too, especially the bad ones. The images were sharp as if they played from a digital movie reel, one that I was inside of. Only the hollow echo of the voices, and the blurred outlines of the scenery, together with this underlying knowledge that I was, in fact, in a dream, reminded me of what it was. Lola said that when I woke up from these things I should go to the guava tree in our backyard—any tree, actually—touch its trunk and murmur the nightmares to it. Only then will the dreams stop visiting me each night and leave me alone.

I had a bad dream five nights ago, and true to lola’s advice, I didn’t tell anyone about it. But I didn’t pass it on to our backyard tree either. I didn’t want its aged bark and its lush leaves to take this one dream away. Because in that dream Miguel was still alive. My Miguel. He was in the dream, and he spoke to me.

Read the rest in the Philippine Genre Stories website.

Writing Now

Miki and Ana’s Twenty Questions

In Songs to Get Over You, Ana suggests that she and Miki get to know each other better by playing Twenty Questions. Now I don’t know the actual questions you’d find if you get this game, but as Ana said, the rules are pretty simple: 1. You answer all the questions, and 2. The questions don’t have to end at 20.

So here I’m sharing with you Miki and Ana’s version of the game. I’ve put down my own answers (feel free to ignore them, haha), and I thought it would be fun if you answer them too. Tag me?

Okay, GO!

Continue Reading

Writing Now

Cover Reveal: Waiting in the Wings by Tara Frejas

New book alert! Tara Frejas has a new book out and yay check out that gorgeous cover. Synopsis below too to get you more hyped up for this release.

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Genre: Romance / NA / Contemporary
Release Date: February 21, 2017
Book Cover Design by: Miles Tan

Synopsis:

At twenty-three, theatre actress Erin Javier has yet to fall in love or kiss a boy offstage and away from the klieg lights. She’s the perfect leading lady—whose heart men would fight for, win, and protect—unfortunately, only until the curtains fell and the lights went down. In real life, Erin’s a certified NBSB whose heart’s been hoping for a song to dance to for quite some time.

But when two (two!) men enter from stage left and right, Erin is confused. Who deserves to take center stage in her heart—Mr. Theatre Royalty whose attention and displays of affection make her pulse race, or a good friend whose steady support has helped steer her to success and allowed her to fulfill her dream?

Add Waiting in the Wings on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34102210-waiting-in-the-wings

Writing Now

2016 – The Bookish Year That Was

It feels good to do this again, because it tells me that 2015 was not a fluke or a very vivid daydream, but was something that really happened and led to more things in 2016, writing and publishing-wise.

In 2016, I:

 

  • Wrote a children’s short story for Bayong ng Kuting called The Kitten She Didn’t Love, loosely based on the love-hate relationship between my sister and our indomitable male feline, Bing. This may be a trope.
  • Wrote a story spiral for Ines Bautista-Yao’s blog, starring Miki, because some days my feelings belong to him.
  • Attended a YA writing class organized by Bronze Age Media and facilitated by Ines, because I liked hanging out with the people and because my YA wheels needed oiling.

 

  • Participated in Manila International Book Fair on the first year that #romanceclass had a booth. It felt surreal. Until now I know my understanding of its significance remains dim and narrow. Suffice it to see though that our booth was right in front of National Bookstore, but our books were being bought anyway, such that panic-reprinting and restocking had to happen. Suffice it to see how the community came together, in manning the booth and playing tindera for the day and hollering mamser, pagibig? and recommending each other’s works to readers. There was already boundless joy and pride in that.
  • Felt kilig over and over again in live readings. In April Feels Day (special kilig because theater actor Jef Flores read as Miki from Songs to Get Over You), Feels Rush In, All The Feels, and Feels Fest.

 

  • Met wonderful new people—fellow writers, readers, both local and international. Saw a bit of how people in other places responded to my books, and got the happy surprise of seeing them accept my book people too.
  • Signed up for my second Mina V. Esguerra workshop, #romanceclass2017, a thing that is carrying me through to 2017. That and a fun project with #romanceclass chicas Six delos Reyes and Tara Frejas.

I ended my 2015 post with a list of goals, and I am happy to have checked them all off in 2016, at least at the minimum. So I thought a new list would be a good way of ending this post too.

In 2017, I will:

  • Write and finish my #romanceclass2017 manuscript. This is uncharted territory for me, because of the POV, the steam level challenge, and largely because this is a new universe, not the familiar terrain of my band boys and girl in the Playlist series. Scareciting. I’m building a Pinterest board as I write, because I do that now, apparently (visuals are important). Check it out if you’re curious? 🙂 https://www.pinterest.com/jayetria/where-this-takes-us/
  • Write one more book, maybe YA. Maybe Nino, or Kim, or someone yet to be imagined. Will see where my feelings will take me.
  • Publish one to two books.
  • Work on the fun, secret-for-now project with Six and Tara.
  • Go out and go places and do new things for feelings, special challenge dated 12-10-2016 in mind.
  • Rest and recharge haha because sometimes I don’t like to do this until my body breaks down and forces me to. And being forced to rest doesn’t feel restful at all, if that makes sense.

Every year is bound to be better than the last. That’s a good way to look at things, right? I’m going to keep that in mind. Hello 2017! I hope you’re ready for more of my words and feelings 🙂

Life and Lemons Writing Now

2016 Gratitude

The tougher the year, the more important it is to look for the good things, because they are all there. In red letter dates and normal dates, in moments and in people. Ines has been reminding me to write down my 2016 gratitude, partly because she knows she’ll be in it, but also because she’s right. Remembering and taking time to be grateful is important, even more so now.

I am grateful for family. For fights over unwashed dishes and barrel-bolted doors, and un-knotted garbage bags and missed curfews. (Curfews! Curfews, still, mother??) Because these mean I have sisters and parents to have the fights with, and we’re never really that angry anyway.

I am grateful for friends and safe spaces. They say it’s harder to find friends as you get older, but maybe not. I think when you grow older it gets easier to spot a kindred spirit, your panic room, someone who will understand even just one small corner of who you are. Maybe it’s that small, dark corner that gets wider, deeper, and hurts more some days, and you’ll find someone who will be ready to pull you out, or stay with you, whatever it is you need. I am grateful I found friends like that this year. Ines, Caryn, Agay, Six, Tara, Dawn. Thank you.

I am grateful for travel, and for Aze, Chuks and Sunny, friends who are willing to get lost and found with me, endure what I turn into when I’m hungry, hot, excited, frustrated, and weary. I am grateful for spring and summer, for long walks and mosh pits. 2016 was Tokyo and Osaka. Cherry blossoms, a stock market field trip, Tsukiji again for mind-bending sushi, takoyaki and okonomiyaki, Summer Sonic with half-naked, half-baked Charlie Puth, wonderful, swaying Matty, Weezer and Panic! and Baby Metal (will stop here, this is a long list).

I am grateful for food. Dear God, thank you for food. I sure ate a lot of pancakes and sushi and cake this past year.

I am grateful for work. For people who make it just a little bit more intense, but still more fun, less like work. For officemates who take time to visit my cubicle and distract me from work, because sometimes I need that. I always promise not to take work too seriously, and I always break it. Maybe serious is okay? Maybe serious means I don’t hate it like I did the old one, and I appreciate it for what it is, and what it allows me to do.

I am grateful for art. For art fairs, museums, postcards, movies and theater, so much theater. For music. For borrowed acoustic guitars, for OPM and gigs. For that moment when you’re in the middle of the crowd, swimming in sound, the drumbeat moving inside you, and you’re there, you’re present, so present, but you’re also somewhere else. In that line of the song that talks about your life in abstract, or in minute detail. In that beat when the vocalist’s eyes catch you, and you both smile, because maybe that was his favorite line in the song too. I listened and liked a few new local acts last year, but the standouts remain to be the greats from my high school days. Sandwich, Ely, Ebe, Parokya ni Edgar (with Vinci, please). Rakenrol hanggang umaga.

I am grateful for books. Dawn said there are still so many songs for me to listen to, and I said that’s like telling me there are still so many books to be read. Both are true, and it makes me panic a little sometimes. But it just means we will never run out, doesn’t it? There will always be words that will take us places while we’re reading in bed or in line at the grocery or sneakily in our cubicles when there’s a report to be finished. I am grateful for books I have written, books I am writing, books I still want to write.

I am grateful for #romanceclass, because you are friendship; a safe space. You are work, and you are books. And you are a promise of more things to look forward to. We will never run out.