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.”

https://www.bloglovin.com/@weekendreader/smutathon-wrap-up

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 amazon.com, and any other website that may be affiliated with Amazon Service LLC Associates Program.

Articles, News and Events, Uncategorized, Writing Workshops

Speaking before The Greatest Digital Creatives’ seminar on fiction-writing and self-publishing

Last December 15, 2018 at the YDG Coffee Shop in Shaw Blvd., a group of writers and freelancers gathered together for a free seminar on Freelancing and Self-Publishing. Cherrie Ann Balictar, the founder of The Greatest Digital Creatives, invited me to speak about self-publishing and writing fiction. 

Admittedly, I was hesitant at first to accept her invitation. I didn’t see myself as qualified to speak about the said topics because I consider myself a newbie and I still have so much to learn. Cherrie was quick to soothe my fears, though, by encouraging me to just share what I know to these young people who wanted to learn about those things.

And it got me thinking.

When I was starting to delve into self-publishing and rekindling my skills on fiction-writing, there were no free seminars locally (at least, none that I knew of or heard of). I had to research on my own about it through browsing the internet. I had no one to ask. I had to learn by trial and error. It was so frustrating. It was like swimming aimlessly in a vast, deep ocean without a shore in sight.

By speaking what I’d experienced so far, these people may have a chance to avoid committing the same mistakes that I did. They may have a chance to learn things that weren’t offered to me way back when I was starting. And so, though my College teaching days were a long time ago, the thought somehow gave me the initiative to accept the challenge and go for it.

I talked about some writing tips and the basic elements of writing fiction: Plot, Character, Setting, Point of View, Style, and Theme. I also shared what I knew and had experienced about self-publishing on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. The audience, comprising of creative millenials and professionals, was very attentive.

I had a great time at the seminar, meeting new acquaintances and rekindling an old friendship. And despite being the speaker and teacher (sort of), I learned so much too. For one thing, I had to review everything that I knew so far, and it was enlightening. I also learned that given the chance, people of all walks of life, young and not-so-young, will take the time and effort to learn new things and new skills to better themselves. Better people makes for a better way of life that can be satisfyingly creative and financially-rewarding as well. And better people, of course, can make for a better world.

The Greatest Digital Creatives is a creative team specializing in digital marketing and aims to offer mentorship programs to aspiring writers. You can get in touch with Cherrie and The Greatest Digital Creatives HERE. You’ll not regret it!

Posing with some of the attendees of The Greatest Digital Creatives’ seminar on freelancing and self-publishing
Articles, News and Events, Uncategorized, Writing Workshops

Writing for Heist Club PH x Sachet Novels

Update! A Time for Heists romantic suspense collection was formally launched last August 4, 2018 at the iAcademy Nexus campus in Makati, Philippines. Thoughts and photos posted HERE.

I always liked challenging myself when it comes to writing fiction. By challenge, I mean trying out new genres or blending them. One such challenge I decided to take up was the Heist Club PH x Sachet Novels writing workshop.

36812748_10156449959446649_7198456877057835008_nThis workshop is a tie-up between Heist Club PH, a group of talented Filipino authors writing about crime fiction, and Komikasi Publishing’s Sachet Novels, the Philippines’ mobile book brand available to Cherry Mobile subscribers.

Blurb: The Greatest Treasure by Mayumi Cruz

Joseph’s professional thieving business which he runs with his reclusive friend, Herman, is thriving, not lacking for internationally rich and famous clients from whom they accept “projects” and get sky-high commissions as reward for their “extraordinary skills.”

But this particular job gives him the creeps. He has to steal a rare Rizal bust wherein the national hero’s letters on the whereabouts of the richest gold deposit in the Philippines are said to be hidden. To make matters worse, the bust is located in a seemingly impregnable yacht fortress in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, guarded by dangerous creatures he prefers not to encounter.

The client also requires that one of her own people do the job with him, and Joseph always works alone. But okay, a beautiful, all-woman but equally skilled thief, Amanda, may not be a bad companion, after all. That is, until he learns that her marching orders are to dispose of him once the bust is secured.

Now why would an apparently insignificant piece of wood generate such homicidal act on the part of his client? Surely, those letters don’t hold the power to alter the course of history and change the world’s opinion about the great man who inspired the Philippine revolution—or do they?

As early as the first week of May 2018, the mentors, Maita Rue, Ria Lu, Yeyet Soriano, and Georgette Gonzales started the free writing workshop with the end in view of coming up with a romantic suspense anthology in time for this year’s Philippine Romance Convention sponsored by the Romance Writers of the Philippines.

37978474_2064570843613117_3117153389306183680_oEmails were sent, together with tips and learning resources to help us better understand the genres, and also the rules we have to stick to. The workshop required us to write a heist (robbery) story with romance involving a real or imagined valuable artifact belonging to a Philippine historical figure.  Word cap ranged from 5,000-8,000 words, and several significant words and characters should be present in our story.

Writing a heist story was certainly challenging for me. It was very educational. From the mentors who shared with us their knowledge and expertise, I learned more about a MacGuffin, magical realism, and romance, among other things. At first, I was dreading the research work I had to do about Philippine history. As a student, I abhorred history classes because I remember them to be boring, sleep-inducing, and uninteresting. But I was surprised to find myself enjoying learning about my chosen historical figure, Dr. Jose Rizal, and in the process, reading up on other historical persons as well.

I also found writing a heist story utterly enjoyable. I loved Danny Ocean’s movies franchise, The Italian Job, and The Inside Man. I watched them all again. I also read up on heist novels. All these helped me a lot in finding my voice and style, thus creating and finishing my story, The Greatest Treasure, which is included in the A Time for Heists Anthology. (Please see Blurb above) Funny, I actually am thinking of writing a sequel to it–a full-length novel!

A Time for Heists will be formally launched on August 4, 2018 at the Philippine Romance Convention, which will be held at the IAcademy campus in Makati, Metro Manila. It’s already available for pre-order on Amazon for international buyers.

38135191_10156502134956649_5731352604873588736_n

Aside from the book launch, there will be talks and panels on various interesting topics. There will also be an Indie Book Fair, where my other books will also be available for purchase.

Everyone is invited!

Articles, News and Events, Uncategorized

Bookbed’s Review of Chroma Hearts

C827F749-A98E-4D83-BF63-2788E87D1D61Nothing brings more joy to a writer than finding readers that not only appreciate your work, but, more importantly, are able to intellectually decipher, grasp, and be emotionally invested in what you have written. While writers accept that not every reader can be their target readers, it’s always a nice surprise to come upon people who really do get what you’ve been meaning to say in your story.

Bookbed is a vibrant, multifaceted creative community which actively promotes and supports Filipino readers, writers, and artists, with the main goal of developing a #ReadingNation. It is headed by KB Meniado and her team. I am honored that she read my book and shared her thoughts about it in the bookbed blog. Thanks, KB!

Here are some excerpts of KB’s review of my romantic psychological thriller book, Chroma Hearts. To read the full review, go to this link: Bookbed.org.

My heart was pounding the whole time I was reading this book because [expletive deleted]. It opened with a crime (stuff of nightmares, really), and I thought the writing style was nothing less than perfect—vivid and dramatic, because it situated me right away (and honestly, a bit carried away). The whole thing felt like following a crime movie or TV show, complete with mini cliffhangers, dramatic plot twists and flashbacks and wtf-worthy revelations. At the rate my investment was going, I was already practically begging to get to the bottom of it all even in just the first few chapters.

Chroma Hearts by Mayumi Cruz is a gripping and thought-provoking story about fighting for love against mental illness, with a side of crime solving. Strongly recommended for those who enjoy mind-stirring and heart-squeezing.

Chroma Hearts is available internationally on Amazon, both digitally and in print. For Philippine buyers, paperback edition can be purchased 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 amazon.com, and any other website that may be affiliated with Amazon Service LLC Associates Program.

Articles, News and Events, Uncategorized, Writing Contests

Writing Contests and Learning Moments

Mermaid Princess

It was a nice surprise to be among the winners of 8Letters’ Summer Dreams Writing Contest. And exciting too, because my story, The Mermaid Princess, will be included in an Anthology that will be launched at the biggest book festival of the Philippines, the Manila International Book Fair. This year, the MIBF will be held on September 12-16, 2018 at the SMX Convention Center in the Mall of Asia Complex.

fullsizeoutput_522As a writer, I must say that joining writing contests are not all about winning prizes or accolades, or getting a chance to be published. For me, it’s also about (1) flexing your writing muscles, (2) honing your craft, and (3) gaining self-discipline.

Here’s how:

Flexing your writing muscles, because, you get to write–duh! ☺️ In joining a writing contest, you get into mandatory plotting, writing, editing a story. Beats doing nothing, or just letting yourself dream of writing. You write because you have to, with the deadline and all. But you get to write, and that’s the idea. Consider writing contests as writing exercises.

Honing your craft. This is where healthy competition becomes a stimulus to a writer. You are pitting against other writers who may or may not be more well-read, experienced, or eloquent than you. You may be clueless about the required genre or sub-genre. So what do you do? You read and research more, ask around, seek advice, and write to the best of your ability. You work hard to improve and perfect your skills to be able to produce the highest quality work you can come up with. Ergo, you become a more learned writer than you were before.

Gaining self-discipline because you have to stick to the required prompt and word count–not to mention beat the deadline. Sometimes you have to chop (delete) words, sometimes you have to wring your brains out to come up with additional words. At times you’d look at the calendar and count the hours and minutes until deadline. You’ll feel adrenaline kicking at you like a horse’s hooves. Your heart may gallop in excitement or dread, but it’s okay as long as you don’t get a nervous breakdown or a heart attack. But in the process, you gain discipline over yourself. You tame yourself to adapt to the contest rules.

In a nutshell, writing contests should be regarded as a writer’s learning or teachable moment. It’s not so much as the reward in winning one, although it’s a fantastic and humbling bonus, of course. But it’s the journey that makes it so fulfilling and gratifying, and you find yourself learning more, doing more, improving more–and finishing a story.

In other words, the writer evolves. 🦋
Articles, News and Events, Uncategorized

My first book launch!

Being a new author, I didn’t know what to expect at my first formal book launch. I mean, my other books, I just pressed click and voila! they were in Amazon and other book sites, as well as my social media sites. I’m not very good at speaking before people. I write better than I speak!

But I found out to my delight that I had nothing to be anxious about. It’s all because Cindy dela Cruz and her 8Letters Team were so accommodating and supportive. I felt I’ve known them for so long even though I only got to meet them last April 15, 2018 at the 8LettersLitFest. The rest of the (initial) attendees, too, were very nice. Joy of JMD Printing was there. For the second time, I saw Bentham. Geez, they’re all so young. I’m the oldest. Yikes!

IMG_2270IMG_2271IMG_2273IMG_1616IMG_1618fullsizeoutput_33dfullsizeoutput_341Regretfully, I was a “launch and run” author because I had to rush off to an important family affair after. Cindy was so understanding of my situation. She introduced my book to the early guests and proceeded to ask me questions about what Chroma Hearts was about and about my writing style. She also made me read an excerpt from my book. She made it look and feel easy on me, and I was surprised to realize it’s over rather than dreading every minute.

I’m glad there were some early buyers who requested a signed copy of the book, and more glad that even after I left, there were more buyers too, according to Cindy.

All in all, my first book launch was a great experience. Writing a book is fulfilling, but meeting kindred souls and knowing that people appreciate what you’ve accomplished is inspiring. I am now more motivated to finish editing my stories and starting new ones.

My heartfelt thanks to Cindy and her team, to my fellow authors, the attendees of the 8LettersLitFest, and of course, to my husband and three sons who went with me to support me on my first book launch. You all have made this ol’ gal very happy and very motivated to continue with my writing. 🦋

Articles, News and Events, Uncategorized, Writing Contests

My ‘Black Love’ won first place at #BookbedFictory 2017!

First Place Black Love

Disclaimer: There are too many firsts in this post. You have been warned!

It was a pleasant surprise for me when my entry, Black Love, won first prize at Bookbed.org‘s very first fiction writing contest held this year. Writing a love story about Philippine mythological creatures like tikbalang (horse demon) and kapre (tree demon) was a first for me. I made a lot of research, asked a number of my friends, and thought of at least three plots before I came up with the one I wrote. Black Love is a speculative love story that will touch your hearts and astound your minds.

I was particularly grateful for the comments of some of the judges:

“The story starts in medias res, which makes it exciting. The pacing was perfect and so was the narrative.”

“Was very excited for this prompt, and loved how the writer grounded the story in a local setting and employed even more local mythical creatures. The reveal of the twist was satisfying and effectively unnerving given how the writer endeared the characters to the readers.”

“Fairytale feel. The voice is delivered clearly. It did not lose the momentum. Fascinating story!”

IMG_1810I remember my first ever win in a writing contest. It was years ago, back in 1991. I wrote a short story entitled, “The Sekyutib (Executive) Dream” in a contest sponsored by Clover Typewriter and a female magazine which name I can no longer recall. It was that long ago! “The Sekyutib Dream” is about a street boy who washes car windows during traffic lulls in EDSA for a fee. He meets a generous, young female executive whom he idolised. In the end, his dream of becoming an executive like her was brought to a tragic end when he was accused of stealing and was subsequently shot to death. I can still remember the call I got from the contest representative when she informed me I won, saying that she cried when she read my story.

Unfortunately, my manuscript was lost in the passage of time. Gosh, it was written in Wordstar! The disk was lost when we transferred houses. My trophy was lost, too. Funny, but the typewriter I won as prize, the reason why I joined that contest in the first place, is with my brother still. I don’t know if it still works, though. Certainly it can now be considered an antique piece!

After that first win, I should have continued writing. But I worked full-time, and I cast aside my imaginary pen. So it was a really nice surprise to win again, after so-so years. (I dare not count!) It gave my constant self-doubt a boost, motivated me to challenge myself and hone my writing skills. Joining competitions can be a practical way to learn more, write more, and improve one’s writing.

Winning first place in a writing competition does not make me a great writer. I don’t pretend to be the best writer out there. I’m not even good, as per my standards, and I’m sure as with other accomplished writers’ standards too. But every day, I try to learn and do things that make me a better writer than I was yesterday. And I think that’s the most important thing.

Want to read my winning entry, Black Love? Click HERE