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

Figment!

I recently opened up an account at Figment (check mine here), and trying as much as I can to participate in their Daily Themes. Basically they email you something, um, every day, some sort of a writing prompt, and you make a short story or a poem out of it. For example, yesterday’s prompt was entitled Stuck on You: 

Imagine two characters are stuck together. What is sticking them together? How do they respond to being locked down? Make the scenario as whimsical, funny, realistic, magic, or improbable as you like. 

I haven’t done an entry on this one, but I’ve come up with four for their Daily Themes so far:

I am still thinking about it if I should cross-post them here, but for the meantime, they’re staying put there at Figment.

(And I must say I thoroughly enjoyed writing The Cure, so much so that I’m thinking of expanding it into a full story.)

So… there :)

 

.xx, Kessica

 

Soooo… on travel, writing, and living (a.k.a. a recap of why I missed some months on blogging)

Hello, hello! Welcome back! (?)

So I haven’t been blogging / posting much here because I’m busy doing three things, namely:

  1. Work, of course, which I recently found out need not take precedence over everything in life;
  2. Writing my contemporary romance novella, now with the title The Real Score for my #RomanceClass (more on this later); and
  3. Living. Actually living. 

In my past few months of absence on this blog, I went to exactly three places I have never been to before: Negros Occidental, Davao, and Bataan (at least the tourist spots that we went to). Traveling is fun – minus the grueling part where you wait for delayed flights and long trips on buses and/or cars. (On some days, though, I like the long trips because it helps me think.)

I went to Negros Occidental, particularly in Silay, Bulata, and Danjugan Island, because of a trip I won from work (see, hard work really does pay off). In Silay we did a tour of the ancestral homes there, and I learned a lot particularly at the Hofilena’s house because of Sir Ramon. Go there, and he’d make the trip worth it.

2013-04-17 16.19.28

After the trip in Silay, we endured this three- to four-hour car ride to Punta Bulata, which is virtually paradise, especially if you want to disconnect from everything. I say this because there is little to almost no signal in this area, which could work to your advantage as well. This scene welcomed us, which made me love the place:

2013-04-17 18.05.49

It has calm clear waters and white (or should I say coral-ly) sand. And to top it off: the place is a bit private. There were some families who do day trips to the resort, but during the nights, it was mostly us and a handful of other guests which is less than 30. It’s a happy place if you enjoy the peace and quiet. And sunsets like this:

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Honestly, I only thought sunsets like that existed in the wallpapers that came with laptops or in Boracay. I was glad to be wrong about this, because Punta Bulata has one of the most gorgeous sunsets I’ve ever seen.

The highlight of the trip was Danjugan Island, a marine reserve about ten to fifteen minutes away from Punta Bulata. Trips to this island need to be pre-arranged as only forty people are allowed on the island at a time. Since it is also a reserve, you are not allowed to take anything from the island (so no, if you’re like me who likes shells for keepsakes, hands off), and you also have to conserve the amount of freshwater that you use (one pail of freshwater per person). The waters too are gorgeous at this place, and Mang Ruben, our guide, is entertaining, fun, and informative. We also got to see the tabon bird, an eagle, and a couple of orioles. We heard bats, saw big crawling crabs right behind the cabana where we stayed overnight, and met a lot of mosquitoes (so bring your repellants aside from your sunblock).

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A (very) early morning at Danjugan

Beautiful, right? Continue reading

#RomanceClass

Earlier this year, I joined a contemporary romance writing class mentored by a popular local author Mina V. Esguerra (check out her works like Fairy Tale Fail and Interim Goddess of Love, among others). On Twitter, it’s addressed as #romanceclass, thus the title of this entry. (And it also makes my friends double-take whenever I say I’m taking a ‘romance class.’ Yes, they made that leap.)

While the platform for the class is primarily online via a Facebook group, there were monthly meetups for those who are in Manila for discussions. There were about a hundred of us in the class, something that really amused me. A group of writers (or those who want to be, at least). I personally only know about three or four people who like to write as a pasttime, so this is a revelation to me.

Anyway, the goal: come up with a contemporary romance novella in about six months. If you’re into definition of terms, that is a work of about 30,000 words (not exceeding 50,000), set in the present time. Characters should be real people—no vampires or werewolves involved—with the primary plot being love.

A couple of days ago, I submitted my complete manuscript to my beta reader (so that’s what they’re called!) and to Ms. Mina. A bit ahead in submission (looking to be a rather busy May, and there’s this thing called… ‘flow’ or Muse or plain inspiration).

Let’s recap this writing experience, shall we? Continue reading

Bare

Why do you write? 

I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked this question. Default answer was always because it’s therapeutic. It’s a way to release emotions or thoughts that nag your head, all the time, begging to be put out in the open.

Another answer is that I write because I have so many ideas in my head–those alternative scenarios to actual events you’ve seen happen, or a reaction to something you’ve seen or read, or just that eureka moment when you thought you can own the world with something in your head. That one idea. 

So I write. And I put it out here for the time being, while I still try and try to finish my eureka idea and turn it into something worth publishing.

But you know what’s weird? Is that I write, and I post it, and I link up this blog to my Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter, but still I get shocked when people would tell me they read my stuff. Actual people that I know. People I work/ed with or people I went to college or high school with. RELATIVES (this is the one that makes me panic the most). And when they tell me that, after that split-second bliss that hey, people still read nowadays, and I am one of the stuff that they read, is that feeling of privacy being invaded.

I know, I know–hey, I put them online, so whatever stuff I write is for the public to consume. But it just feels like they can see me, like see me kind of see me. That they already know a piece of my soul, that they have peeked into my deepest darkest secrets because they read the things I write. Like letter by letter, word by word, a tidbit about me is revealed to them. Like I’m there, laid bare in front of them, as they read each word, paragraph, and story. And I panic because I’m scared that they might not actually like what they see. And when they tell me that they read my stories, I want to hide. Or delete everything on my blog and then start a new one under a pseudonym.

HA. Weird, I know. Hashtag: me being me.

L.I.T.E.R.A.L #4: You’re a writer if…

L.I.T.E.R.A.L. is a weekly blog meme for authors hosted at Indie Books. We created it to serve as a support group for participants of the Author at Once workshops, but we welcome all writers (from anywhere in the world) who’d like to weigh in on the topics!

After a long break, there’s a new L.I.T.E.R.A.L. topic! For the week of Nov. 19-25:

What will make you truly feel that you’ve made it as a writer? Seeing your byline? Holding the book in your hands? Seeing it climb up the charts? Your first book launch? What will finally get you to tell people that yes, you are a writer?

I think you’ve made it as a writer once you’re there at the bookstore, holding a physical, actual copy of your book in your hands, seeing the cover, your fingers running across your printed name. And then I know I really made it once I see my parents have their own copies, and see the smiles on their faces. There isn’t any better feeling than the feeling that you’ve made your loved ones proud.

I am going to do it someday. Maybe 2013, perhaps? :)

Link up:

IndieBooks

Author At Once

L.I.T.E.R.A.L.

Me on Twitter (just in case you want to ‘listen’ to me ramble)

Love, Fangirl

FANGIRL

A fangirl is a female member of the fandom community (counterpart to the masculine “fanboy”). Fangirls may be more devoted to emotional and romantic aspects of their fandom, especially (relation-)shipping. However, it is commonly used in a derogatory sense to denote a girl’s obsession with something, most commonly a male teen idol or an aspect of Japanese pop culture. Fangirl behavior can vary in intensity. On the one end of the scale are those that, while harboring a crush on a particular actor or character, are perfectly capable of understanding that the fulfillment of the crush is never going to happen. On the other end are the girls who are said to be obsessive in their claims on a fictional character, even fighting with other fangirls over who ‘owns’ the character in question. Fangirl behavior can fall anywhere in this spectrum, but the closer someone is believed to be towards the obsessive end, the more derogatory the use of the term fangirl is perceived to be.

SOURCE: Wikipedia

I AM A FANGIRL.

I couldn’t pinpoint how and when it happened, but I have a guesstimate: I was a college freshman, thrown into the crazy world of Manila, alone. Aside from coping with the harsh city coupled with my being geographically challenged (number of times I got lost in my first week = 10; number of times spent walking instead of taking public transportation that may just take me somewhere else = 7), I had to deal with the culture shock. It was a different place with people coming from different subcultures. I was just one in a sea of 3,000 students, when the high school where I came from had a population of less than 400 students. And I didn’t know anybody.

I have to turn to something to keep me sane.

And there was being a fangirl—aside from the obvious choice of making friends.

July was the kickoff of the University Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP), where my alma mater is a part of. My classes would end early, so when I get home, basketball games were shown on TV, and I’d root for my alma mater (and cheer for other teams too). Slowly but surely, I was learning the game—I was getting hooked with basketball, and then I started having crushes on the players, both because of their game and because of their looks. I had three crushes back then: Jino Ferrer of the UP Fighting Maroons, Joseph Yeo of the De La Salle Green Archers, and Chris Tiu of the Ateneo Blue Eagles.

And that was it. Once you go fangirl, you can’t go back.

After a while, my fangirl tendencies shifted—when the UAAP is on a break, I would watch Philippine Basketball Association (PBA). And when both UAAP and PBA are off-season, there’s baseball (which is an even tougher sport to learn, I tell you). I was occupied with my favorite players, the objects of my fangirling. I like reading news articles about them and watching videos of their games.

After a while, they started getting in the stuff that I write.

Chris Tiu spawned one short story, while Joseph Yeo had about two “novels” (click here and here) and some shorts (one of which is an all-time favorite story of mine). Mark Caguioa has one, plus he’s the reason why this blog is named Spark’s Fire.

Right now, I am past my basketball fangirling stage, and I am into musicians and artists.

While I am part of this subculture (if you may) I am really interested in knowing what goes into the heads of fangirls. Interested enough that I want to do an actual research study on them. But for now, I have some “theories:”

1) She could only “fangirl” over one subject of fangirling at a time. = I tend to focus on one person or group at a time. I think it’s because you need to focus all your ‘energies’ on that person or group (hereby called SUBJECT OF FANGIRLING, a.k.a. SF). You watch videos, read up about them, check Tumblr posts about them, tweet them, etc. That already requires so much time, so if you have multiple SFs, I don’t think you’ll get any sleeping done.

In my case, just solely for this year, I fangirled over the Philippine Volcanoes and then David Cook for the first and second quarter. September was Maroon 5, and then—yes—1D. [I honestly don’t know what happened there. I didn’t like them before.] I couldn’t think of a time when my SFs had overlapped.

2) She needs someone she could fangirl with. = I think one of the essential needs of a fangirl is to have someone she can talk to about this. She needs someone she can squeal with, someone she can rant to whenever something happened to her SF. Someone whom she can release the information, the gushes, the news she finds to. Someone—at least in my case—with whom she can watch the concerts and/or games with, who will stand in line with her or for her. Otherwise, a fangirl will explode.

Case in point: my last (and current) SF is the British(-Irish) boyband One Direction. At first I hid it. I was vocal before when I said that maybe they’re just another boyband, and I’m just a little bit old to get into boybands. My boybands were *NSYNC, Westlife, Backstreet Boys, A1, and Blue, and they were—most of them at least—long gone. And then one day, I got bored, finding some new songs to listen to post-Maroon 5 hangover, and I got the idea to listen to them because an officemate’s friend likes them. I GOT CURIOUS. I downloaded their songs (Yes, songs first. I barely even know what they looked like prior to that or what their names are.), and then I just found myself looping it over and over. I think it was because their most of their songs are so feel good that it de-stresses me. So there I was, a newly-minted Directioner. Quite late to the party, but still… a Directioner.

And I don’t know anyone who is. So I kept it. Cryptic tweets here and there. I managed to get another officemate hooked (YAY) but she likes their music and that’s it. I just went a whole lot further and I became a fangirl. And it was TOUGH, to keep all those emotions bottled up inside. How I try to hide my phone whenever someone’s coming to my desk because they could see that I’m listening to 1D. How I couldn’t talk about them and how they’re actually pretty amazing live (I think this is the one that got me hooked. I like artists who sound good on record and off the record.)

And then after a while, it got too much, and then I just went: SCREW IT. I have always been a fangirl, so why should I be ashamed this time when I’m fangirling over boys that are four to five years younger than I am? [Okay, when you put it that way it sounds bad. HAHA.] I am appreciating music (as bubblegum pop as some of it are), and I like them. It’s an added bonus that they come in a very handsome package, that they seem like nice people, and that they dance awkwardly.

So thank you to my cousin Nikki, my friend Faye, and my colleagues Nenz and Cho for listening to me ramble on about my current SF. I know it’s tiring, and I know sometimes you don’t want to hear it, but thanks for listening. Thank you for Pearl (yes, I’m namedropping you), though, for indulging this. HAHA :)

3) She has to embrace her being a fangirl. = See Item #2. You can’t really be a true fangirl if you haven’t even admitted to yourself that you are one. If we need to qualify this: yes, you’re a fangirl if you follow them on Twitter, or liked their Facebook pages, or read up on articles about them. If you also actively search online for stuff about them, then consider yourself a fangirl. Downloading music videos or watching live performances on YouTube? Yup, FANGIRL. There could be various ways to qualifying fangirls, but you should embrace it if you are one. While I do admit I’m not the hardcore fangirl—I don’t go to as many basketball & rugby games as much as I want to, nor do I watch every single concert that my SF artist is having—I’m still a fangirl. I still show support and love towards my SF, and I’m ready and willing to fight a verbal battle should someone strike them down.

So there. I am a fangirl. And if you base it on the definition provided by Wikipedia that I quoted above, I think you should qualify me as the harmless kind of fangirl, the one who can still determine reality from fiction—save for the fact that my SFs are good sources of stories too.

If you’re a closet fangirl… come out. There’s no harm in being one (unless you’re the one who lives up to the derogatory meaning of the word). Plus, you get to meet other awesome fangirls too! (Met some during my Philippine Volcanoes fangirling phase.)

FANGIRLS, UNITE!

Love,

Fangirl