Articles, Books, News and Events, Reviews, Uncategorized

INJS is one of Favorite Reads of 2018!

When I checked Twitter this morning, it was a pleasant surprise to find that I was tagged in a tweet. The tweet? My romcom book, It’s Not Just Semantics, was picked by a book blogger/booktuber as one of her Favorite Reads of 2018! 🎉🎉🎉

In her previous post last December 18, 2018, I was so happy to read her blog where she wrote about my female protagonist:

I never thought my book would be included in her list of Favorite Reads of 2018. I am so honoured and humbled. Thank you so much! 😍

More than this, I commend this blogger for giving a chance to read the books of indie authors. In her blog, she said it was important for her to read diversely and to select books from up and coming authors or indie authors. Thank you for supporting us indie authors!

Her reviews were her participation in the #smutathon, a week long readathon where the focus is to read adult romance. Her personal criteria was, I quote:

“… the HEA is not the ultimate goal, but rather strong storytelling with a focus of how the relationship is actually handled. This distinction is important on whether or not I will like the book.”

For her full post on her Favorite Reads of 2018, click HERE. I urge you to follow her blog!

It’s Not Just Semantics is available here.

This post contains affiliate links. I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for website owners to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to, and any other website that may be affiliated with Amazon Service LLC Associates Program.

Articles, Books, Uncategorized

My first Children’s Picture Book

(This post contains affiliate links. You can find my disclosure at the end of this post.)

Renzo’s Rainbow, my first Children’s Picture Book

After so much dilly-dallying, self-bashing, and numerous drafts, I finally completed the artwork of my first ever Children’s Picture Book, Renzo’s Rainbow. It’s now available digitally and in paperback on Amazon.

This book means so much to me. I wrote this at a very sad time, when I was depressed and thinking of my father who had passed away. But ironically, writing this became a source of comfort for me, lifted my spirits, and put a smile on my lips after I typed “The End.”

Here’s a trivia: While I named the main character after my youngest son, in truth, it was my middle son, Carlo, who pulled me out of my depression years ago. He was just a child then, but he sounded all grown-up when he asked me one morning, seeing me sad again: “Mommy…when are you gonna smile?” I will never forget how his eyes looked at me with loneliness and confusion, searching for my usual morning smile which disappeared some months before. That single question was a wake-up call which shook me to my core, reminding me that I have a family to take care of — a husband who patiently put up with my sorrowful silence, and my children who were bewildered by the changes that made me different from the caring, cheerful mother I had been. In that moment, when I heard my little one ask me that seemingly trivial question loaded with a message and a meaning that cannot be adequately defined by mere words, I snapped out of my desolation. I hugged him and told him how sorry I was, over and over again. And then I smiled, just like he asked.

I’ve been smiling ever since. Whenever life or people become too tough or too crazy, or when sorrow knocks at my door–as when my mother died this year–or any other moment I feel not smiling, I try to curl up my lips upward, and smile…still.

I smile for my husband. I smile for my children. I smile for myself. I smile because whatever happens, life has to go on. There are chores to do, family who depends on me, hearts whose love for me are my strength and comfort.

Because that’s how we should live life. With courage and hope that dark days will turn to joyful moments, trusting an omniscient, merciful God to work for the good of His people.

I hope that readers of Renzo’s Rainbow will also realise, like I had, that happiness can be found every day, and that if we’d only look hard enough, it’s just right in front of us. 🦋

Disclosure: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for website owners to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to, and any other website that may be affiliated with Amazon Service LLC Associates Program.

Articles, Books, Uncategorized, Writing

New book! It’s Not Just Semantics

(This post contains affiliate links. You can find my disclosure at the end of this post.)

It’s Not Just Semantics

Just popping in to announce the good news: IT’S NOT JUST SEMANTICS is now LIVE! Paperback edition will be out soon.

I had so much fun writing this book. It was originally a Wattpad story of mine with a different, angsty, tearful twist, a la telenovela style with a happy ending.

But writing it in book form turned it to become a lighter version without tears and with less angst. I can truly say this is a fun read!

It has Filipino characters, age 30s. Romantic pergola under the stars, blanketed by white curtains and fairy lights. A trail of tea light candles with sampaguita flowers. Oh, and there’s pandesal, taho, tinapang bangus, and bayawak! Set in a fictional island paradise. Did I mention this book’s got lots of tongues? Yep, from page one to the last (gasp!)

Intrigued? One-click it HERE.

This is the first book in a series of standalone romances set in an island paradise. Absolutely no cliffhangers and guaranteed happy ending!


Get ready for a delightful, heartwarming, tongue-filled (!) romantic comedy.


Rome Alvez is a disgraced champion race car driver, a notorious playboy, and he’s her stoical Boss.   Alex Hernandez is his efficient but smart-mouth and willful Personal Assistant tasked to repackage his image and bring him back to glory.  

He’s sarcastic. She’s cynical.  

He’s a player. She’s a man-hater.  

From the first moment they met, it’s a battle of wit, wills, and principles. Their views and values on relationships are poles apart. They don’t hold them back from each other, expressing them in colorful language every chance they get.   But in reality, both are cowards in disguise, scared and scarred, ruined by people close to them.   So what do they do when they find themselves drawn to each other despite their differences? They run around in circles and chalk up that “something” between them to just plain desire. After all, desire, attraction, lust, chemistry—those are the same banana, aren’t they? It doesn’t matter how they word it.   It’s just semantics. Or is it?   What if that “something” between them masks a deeper feeling which they can’t refuse or deny?   What if fate brought them together to heal each other’s emotional wounds and give them the courage to take a risk on love?

Disclosure: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for website owners to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to, and any other website that may be affiliated with Amazon Service LLC Associates Program.

Articles, Books, Uncategorized

Chroma Hearts is out!

Surprise, surprise!

My new book, Chroma Hearts, will be out at the 8Letters LitFest this April!

CH Mockup

I will be one of eight authors launching a book, and I’m thrilled and honored to be among them. Cindy dela Cruz of 8Letters has always been supportive of our endeavors, and I’m truly grateful for being a part of this vibrant, eclectic community.

Here’s the Book blurb: (I really have to thank 8Letters for teaching me the right way of creating a blurb. After some practice, I finally got it—I think.)

Can love triumph over all—even catatonic depression? Can love defeat everything—even a diabolical evil?

A new bride suffering from catatonia. A determined husband trying to break through the black pit in which her brain escaped to. And a ruthless abomination who will stop at nothing to tear them apart.

Melvin and Erica are childhood sweethearts. Theirs is a love nurtured through the years. Everything is perfect. They are on the road to their happily ever after. Until their love is put to a series of tests: trials of fire.

Erica is brutally assaulted, left for dead but miraculously survives. Undeterred, they go through with their wedding. But an unwanted outcome and an unexpected memory of the assault push Erica to the edge. Her mind switches off. She becomes catatonic.

Armed with only his unwavering love for her, Melvin strives to unlock her mind and bring her back to him. 

But what if the key to her brain opens up a Pandora’s box, unraveling a hideous truth about the crime which they mistakenly thought was solved? Will they be able to accept it—or survive it?

How to describe the story? Chroma Hearts is an intensely emotional romantic psychological thriller set in contemporary Philippines about the power of love to destroy and heal. It touches on the subject of catatonic depression, and one other issue—which I‘m not going to say here because it’s going to be a major, major spoiler. (sorry!)

Although I’ve briefly mentioned it HERE, I wasn’t able to write about the book’s progress in the last weeks because I was busy, busy, busy editing and revising. From its original 26,700 words, it has ballooned to 46,000++—all because I couldn’t resist adding chapters. It still isn’t much, I know, but at this time, I felt that with all 46,745 words, I have told this story as best as I can, in a way all my own. I hope Chroma Hearts will find its way to its rightful readers.

A little background: when I first wrote this on Wattpad, it started out as a fanfiction like my first book. I’ve since grown out of my fangirling, but I still really love this story, so I decided to put it out there. I’d like to think this story has a lot of depth, a lot more feelings, and not just a little research incorporated in it.

Why romantic psychological thriller? I’ve always challenged myself to explore and blend other genres, and I’m really guilty of thinking up twists and cliffhangers. I guess all those years of watching Law and Order, Criminal Minds, CSI etc. rubbed off on me. It’s fun to rack your brain on who killed who, or what happened to who, etc. Plus I’m a hopeless romantic, so, there’s love, suspense, and thrill here.

Chroma Hearts will be officially launched and released on April 15, 2018 at the 8Letters LitFest to be held in Jess and Pat’s Cafe located at 63 Maginhawa St. U.P. Village, Quezon City, Philippines.

To get the paperback edition at a discounted price, pre-order using this form (Philippines only). Regular price takes effect after launch date.

Chroma Hearts is also available on Amazon, both in digital and paperback editions! It’s FREE for Kindle Unlimited subscribers! If you enjoyed the book, please do consider posting a review.

Okay, that’s about it. Wait, what? The spoiler? Buy the book if you want to know the major, major one! Haha! ✌️ For now, I’ll give you the minor one. Ready? Here goes: (whispers) It has a happy ending. 😉
Articles, Books, Uncategorized

Learning a Great Reading (Writing) Strategy

93A9E055-90F0-42C8-85E5-F477EE654999When I chanced upon Pamela Pan’s article entitled, How to Become a Better Writer in Your Second Language, I thought I was going to learn additional things about writing, being a bilingual writer myself (I speak/write in Filipino and English). And I did. I gobbled up all her useful tips and suggestions which she shared out of her own experiences.

Pamela herself came to the U.S. only when she was 24, having attended college and graduate school in Shanghai before that. Now, she teaches reading, writing and literature in Northern California.

Among her suggested strategies for writers with English as second language to improve their craft are: participate or form a writers’ group, read at least half an hour every day, reread books or passages you like, listen to books, and regard your first language as an asset, not an interference.

Aside from these, there was one particular tip, however, which made a deep impression on me. It was her third suggestion for better writing:

Pause in the middle (of reading a book) and write.

Basically, this entails reading a book (which writers should make a habit of), pausing every few pages, and writing down what you remember (recall) from what you read, even record your reactions or response to it.

What does this reading strategy do? It improves reader comprehension and retention. Pausing and reflecting on what you read increases understanding and memory, as proven by research. Consequently, this helps nurture the habit of transferring ideas from mind to paper. It also helps in organizing one’s thoughts and improving writing skills. In essence, regularly practicing this reading strategy will make one a better writer.

Pamela cited one of her students as a successful example of how beneficial this tip is. Her Spanish student was transformed from being two levels below college to college level in reading and writing because she practised the pause and reflect strategy.

I, for one, am going to use this technique in my present undertaking as an intern at Entangled Publishing, in reading and reviewing other books as well, and of course, in my writing. Thank you, Pamela!