To my 25-year-old self

To my 25-year-old self,

At this point in time, you’re dead tired of and from your job and on most days you hate it. You dread going to work and you cry on some days before taking a deep breath, composing yourself, and heading to work. You are spiraling, and you are very unhappy.

Yet you choose to go to work every day because you still don’t know where you will head. The unknown scares you far more than being unhappy. You’d think maybe this is your quarter-life crisis happening right on cue.

And then you meet someone.

And this someone would be your mad love. What did one of your directors say? That you are entitled to that one mad love in your life, the kind of love that you would do everything for, be crazy for, and maybe even destroy yourself for. And that should be it. One mad love for the rest of your life, because this mad love should teach you a lot of life lessons.

He is someone who doesn’t fit your specs at all except for the fact that he wears glasses and he plays a musical instrument. He smokes (which is one of your deal breakers), he drinks, and aside from the fact that you work together, the list of things that you both have in common probably stops at ten. If this was high school, he’d be part of the ‘it’ crowd, the group of guys who act like they own the hallways, the ones who would sit at the sides and would rate the girls that pass by. And you, well, you know where you were in high school: Miss Goody Two Shoes, sometimes a wallflower, sometimes thrust in the limelight due to an academic achievement. The only times that your world would intersect with his is when he asks for help for his book report or when he wants to copy your homework. (Or when you would ask him for help for your drafting assignment because you hate it, and he’s good at it.)

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I’m sorry (among other things)

Hi, you.

You probably won’t ever see this, but I’m writing it down anyway. This comes with a disclaimer: I am doing this for myself and not for you; it’s to ease all the guilt and pain I have in me these past few months, intensified by the past few days.

When you messaged me last Christmas, I replied back, a simple “Merry Christmas, (your name).” That was it. To be honest, I procrastinated over it, and then proceeded to reply. I only replied for old times’ sake, and it was Christmas. It didn’t matter that I was feeling sad because it was my first Christmas away from my family or that I was feeling so lonely. That Christmas was just ‘okay,’ and it didn’t have the warmth of home. It was eerily quiet and strange; it was white noise. I didn’t ask how you were even if I missed your stories and I have a bajillion questions. Even if I missed you. And I didn’t unleash all the stories and feelings I had in me brought about by the holiday season and otherwise, when the usual would’ve been me sending one message after the other.

And I felt fine.

The next day, you messaged me again, checking how I was for my “first Christmas away.” This time, the minute I got that message, I knew I wasn’t going to reply. I don’t know what your intentions were for checking on me—maybe you’re being this good friend or maybe you were bored (haha, let’s face it: there was the probability it was the latter; it was a holiday, after all, and you probably remembered me then after a month of not talking to each other.)

But I was certain about one thing: you weren’t going to get a reply.

And I felt guilty.

The nice part of me, the part that is your friend, and that nasty part of me that still loves you, wanted to reply. Those parts of me feel guilty and rude for not even thinking twice about not sending a reply, for just reading the message and putting you in the seenzone.

The other part of me, the better part of me, the one that is starting over and is recovering, and the one who thought of self-preservation, figuratively curled up in one corner and threw the phone across the room where it shattered into pieces, just so I wouldn’t reply.

Truth: I didn’t want to reply because I didn’t want to reignite my hope.

And as long as I have that hope that there could be some sense of a future romantic relationship for us, I cannot be your friend.

I don’t want you to be a part of this ‘new’ life that I am building.

Not yet, anyway.

And I’m sorry for that. Continue reading

#BuqoYA Bundle 2 Sweet Complications: Excerpts

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It’s BuqoYA time! Today is this blog’s tour stop for the Sweet Complications bundle. What can you expect from this bundle?

Would you do a set of dares to prove someone wrong? Would you risk your friendship so you can find love? Would you admit your real feelings? There are a lot of complications when it comes to finding love. Get the feels when you read these sweet stories.

From this bundle, I’m highlighting excerpts from Once Upon a Sticky Note by Kristel Ann Cruz and Plain Vanilla by Ines Bautista-Yao.


Once Upon a Sticky Note by Kristel Ann Cruz

Of course it also doesn’t hurt that he is nice to look at. I have always pegged Nate as a pretty boy, but his unassuming ways make him look more attractive. I like his thick eyebrows, his smiling eyes, and the dimple on his left cheek that mirrors mine. I can’t even tell you how many jealous stares I have fielded when we walk through the school together, or how my heart secretly swells seeing these.

It’s quite melodramatic to say that our lives have never been the same since we became closer because we are still very young, but that fact doesn’t make it any less true. I will feel so lost when the time comes he or I would have to go our separate ways. Graduation is coming soon and to be honest, I’m dreading college. I wonder if we will be as close as we are now or whether I will be left behind, a mere footnote to carefree high school days.

It was almost morning when I realized I am in love with my best friend.

About the book: 

Nate and Tanya have been talking all day, every day, best friends for years but on the eve of Nate’s birthday, Tanya realized she has started developing more-than-platonic feelings him. They’re going off to college soon so confessing anything that might make things complicated between them doesn’t sound like a good plan, especially now that Campus Sweetie Armi has entered the picture. What would Tanya do? Could she? Should she? Grab a sticky note and place your bets.

About the author: Kristel Ann Cruz

It boggles the mind how someone so shy and awkward found herself in Public Relations, but somehow Krissy makes it work. If she were a fictional character, shefd be a female Ted Mosby. Whether it be prose, poetry, a watercolor painting, or a craft project, she is happiest when she makes. Talk about books, movies, and lipsticks with her on www.krissyfied.com.

 

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Plain Vanilla by Ines Bautista-Yao

“But what about Margarita?”

“She sped off in another direction.” He shrugged, still pulling her along. But this time, he wasn’t holding her arm anymore. His hand found its way into hers. And she told herself she didn’t let go because it was dark and she didn’t want to trip on anything.

When they got to the covered courts, they didn’t bother to find a place to hide. It was so dark, it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. Paco sat on one of the benches and pulled Tempest down next to him. She was tempted to pull her hand away, but he still hadn’t let go. What was the protocol when it came to something like this? Do you let go when you’re about to do something like look at your watch or scratch an itch? Or do you just keep holding on till both your hands get too sweaty? And why did it have to be so complicated?

“I think this is awesome, what you’re doing.” He smiled at her. Or at least she assumed he was. It was too dark to tell.

“Sitting in the dark, holding your hand?” Tempest couldn’t pretend it wasn’t happening, so might as well call attention to it.

Paco surprised her by squeezing her hand and still not letting go. “Well, yeah, this too.” He laughed easily. “But I was talking about the dares. I mean, daring other people is something Marga and I do all the time, but daring yourself is cool. Why didn’t you tell me about it last night? I could have helped you do some of them while we were just hanging out. What’s on your list anyway?”

Tempest didn’t tell him that the dares had only materialized today because of him. “Well, nighttime hide and seek, sleeping under the stars, and glow-in-the-dark bowling are part of it. That pathetic excuse for chalk art this afternoon was too.”

“That wasn’t pathetic.”

“Whatever.” Tempest snorted. “There’s also doing a color run which I am seriously thinking of swapping with something else, running through sprinklers, flying a kite, making a slushie—”

“You’ve never made a slushie?” Astonishment.

“I lead a very dull life, okay?”

“Or flown a kite?” More astonishment.

“Fine, Mr. I’ve Done Everything Fun in the World, what haven’t you done? If you were to give yourself a list of dares, what would you put on your list?”

“Well, I wouldn’t mind breaking into an all-girls high school after dark and playing hide and seek.” She could hear the smile in his voice.

“Boring. I’ve done that already.”

Paco burst out laughing. Tempest’s insides began to feel all warm and gooey. It felt good to make him laugh. And to have his complete attention. And to still be holding his hand.

About the book: 

Despite her quirky name and equally quirky family, 16-year-old Tempest Juan knows she’s ordinary. After reading a comment on Facebook which likened her to vanilla ice cream, Tempest decides she has to do something about it or be forever branded as plain, lukewarm, and well, vanilla. It doesn’t help that the comment was made by Paco Lorenzo, her cousinfs cute friend (no longer cute in her book!). When she happens upon a book of dares, she decides to attempt each one, no matter how hard. This is her personality at stake, after all. But somehow, Paco, the cause of all this, finds a way to be at every dare Tempest attempts, confusing her and forcing her to question whatfs really going on inside her heart.

About the author: Ines Bautista-Yao

Ines Bautista-Yao is the author of One Crazy Summer, What’s in your Heart, and Only a Kiss. She has also written two short stories, ”Flashbacks and Echoes,” which is part of a compilation called All This Wanting and ”A Captured Dream,” one of the four short stories in Sola Musica: Love Notes from a Festival.

She is the former editor-in-chief of Candy and K-Zone magazines and a former high school and college English and Literature teacher.  She is also a wife and mom and blogs about the many challenges and joys of motherhood at theeverydayprojectblog.com. She has recently launched The Author Project, a section in her current blog devoted to the stories in her head: http://theeverydayprojectblog.com/inesbyao-author-project/

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Get Once Upon a Sticky Note and Plain Vanilla, as well as the four other stories in the Sweet Complications bundle (D’01 by Sassy Fova, One Lovely Summer by Amae Dechavez, Same by Charm Lee, and Travel of Two by Irish Fleurat Buqo. Purchase link here: Buqo.

Also, join the giveaway! Click here for the Rafflecopter link.

Word of the Year: FINIFUGAL – 2014 Year Ender :)

Another year done! I was looking for one word that would summarize 2014 for me. I dabbled with ‘fear,’ ‘indecision,’ ‘bad luck,’ etcetera, etcetera, but nothing clicked right. Until I saw this word: FINIFUGAL (thank you, other-wordly.tumblr.com.).

2014 year end blog

 

That was the best definition of this year. I think being finifugal relates to being scared of starting over, of new things, of changes (drastic ones, to be exact). A quick check of my year-ender the past years led me to one conclusion: I was, kind of, reliving my 2012 all over again, because the same quotes that I quoted still applied, the same complaints, the same worries, and a heartbreak (thankfully, a different guy this time, but jeeeez I never learn, do I?).

I would quote the same John Green quote in 2012:

“You spend your whole life stuck in a labyrinth, thinking about how you’ll escape it one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.” 

–John Green, Looking for Alaska

*sigh*

Let’s kick off this 2014 recap, shall we?

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Un-block that writer’s block: We ‘sing’ through it

Hi everyone!

It’s been a while (well, a couple of weeks) since my last post, and I’ve been trying to get over some sort of a hump. There are two types of people when it comes to writer’s block: those who believe in it and those who don’t. I fall under those who do, and I’m in one right now.

Okay, granted that I’ve been busy as hell and the only thing I’ve managed to churn out in months was that edited preview of Gezellig 3, Curtain Call (which you can still access here) and then nothing else. So to solve it (and to gear up for a couple of stories I’ve got lined up), I came up with this strategy: write some one-shots. Of course, I need to get inspiration somewhere else, and I turn to music.

THE BRILLIANT IDEA (which could backfire on me, haha): Why not write one-shots based on songs, and release one weekly? 

So I asked for suggestions on songs for inspiration both on Twitter and on Facebook, and I got the following so far:

  • Don’t Give Up on Me by Milo Greene [from Kristel — I am so curious about this song because I’ve seen her tweet about this]
  • Anaconda by Nicki Minaj [from Chrissie! This is interesting and quite challenging haha]
  • Over You by Ingrid Michaelson feat. A Great Big World [from Pearl. But this one is already used in (un)breakable, so sorry!]
  • Still Into You by Paramore [from Luna. I have to say aside from Proof, this is one of my most favorite tracks off their new album]
  • A Higher Place by Adam Levine, off the Begin Again OST [from my buddy Ico! I adore this movie and the soundtrack!]
  • Boom Clap by Charli XCX from The Fault in Our Stars OST [again from my buddy Ico… the movie OST also is <3]
  • Rather Be by Clean Bandit [I have to acquaint myself with this one, also from Ico]
  • Girls Chase Boys by Ingrid Michaelson [from Ico! Ingrid’s getting a lot of requests]
  • Close as Strangers by 5 Seconds of Summer [from Dinah. I told her this one is on Gezellig 3 playlist, so I won’t touch it yet.]

That’s what I have so far, enough to occupy me for about two months? I’m still open to song suggestions so hit me up! :D

Best,

Kesh xx

#TheRealScore turns 1! Book birthday, yay!

Hi everyone!

I can’t believe it’s been a year already! My first book, The Real Score, turns one today! *confetti*

To everyone who has bought a copy (or two, or more) of The Real Score, attempted to read it, got a sample, pirated it off someone (I don’t advocate this, but still….), and loved Marcus, Caitlin, and the rest of the Gezellig gang: THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY FANGIRL AND AUTHORLY HEART. <3

Now to celebrate the big one year of The Real Score, I have a couple of stuff lined up:

FREEBIE!

The Real Score is free (yes, free) for a limited time over at Smashwords! Just enter this coupon code: HP72D (not case-sensitive) upon checkout. This’ll last until September 6, 2014.

TITLE REVEAL.

The final book in the Gezellig series has a title! And it is….. *drum roll* CURTAIN CALL. (My previous working title was How It Ends, which also scared me a bit.) This book goes back to where we started: Marcus and Caitlin. If you’ve read (un)breakable, you probably have an idea or two as to where they stand. Lorin is taking a step back here, but she still has a storyline :)

TEASER!!!!!!

TEASER!!!! If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, I’ve posted teasers of the book three in the past couple of days. And we finally have it here. You can download the pdf here or check it out at my Wattpad page. Just a warning: this is a bit spoilery if you haven’t read the second book, so read at your own risk. You have been warned. Tweet, email, or message me anywhere for ‘feels’ on this teaser. :)

FRCA2014

And last but not the least: Filipino Readers’ Choice AwardsThe Real Score, along with a couple of #romanceclass novellas as well as Ms. Mina V. Esguerra’s works, have been nominated under Romance in English! It’s Hunger Games for us, haha, and if you liked The Real Score, really appreciate it if you could drop in a vote for it over here. Voting ends Sept. 10. :)

 

Whew, that’s it. :) Thanks again, and looking forward to sharing more stories with everyone.

Best xx,

Kesh

Book Two: #GZLG2unbreakable is out today!

Hello lovelies! xx

 

Hope you are all safe and dry after wild Glenda!

Anyway, we counted down for thirty days to get to this point, and finally… Gezellig 2 is out!

I never thought I’d get a book out before. I do enjoy writing and all that, but…putting out there, earning from it (no matter how big or small the earnings were), meeting people because of it, was something that a bit like a dream for me. So when I put out The Real Score, I told myself… okay, well, that’s a strange feeling. Strange but nice.

And then Gezellig 2.

Aside from Lie (a story I never got to finish, but whoever’s been there since Lie, the ending’s written already, I just don’t know yet how to get there.), (un)breakable was one of the toughest stories I’ve ever written. Maybe it was because I was going through a lot at the time that I was writing / revising / procrastinating about this, or I was busy, or it was just really tough to write about a love triangle, period.

Or maybe it was because I was scared of that damn sophomore slump.

But it’s here. Somehow we made it through the storm, battered and beat, but we made it.

Gezellig 2 (un)breakable FINAL compressed for webpages

(un)breakable is out now, at Amazon and Smashwords. Still working on getting it everywhere (Buqo, Kobo, etc.), and I will update soon on it. :) [If you’re also waiting for paperback copies… I’m also working out that one.]

Hope you enjoy reading the story. I’m letting it go now. :)

 

xx., Kesh

 

P.S. I just have to say this and get it out of the way. For the record, the guy on the cover is not the rugby player who inspired Spence’s character. Initial versions of this cover was strikingly ‘him,’ but I wouldn’t do that (because he knows, as someone made sure he would haha), so we switched it up. :) If he still looks like rugby player who inspired him, like everything else GZLG2-related, I’m letting it go. It’s for you to judge. :D [Personally, he looks like some Hollywood actor to me.]

P.P.S. The ending of GZLG 2. We settle that with a teaser of Book 3 (which already has a working title, FINALLY) on The Real Score’s book birthday on August 30. Watch out for it! :D