Monday, December 30, 2013

PHR Writing Workshop

Last May, we had a two days workshop with PHR. I met a lot of new friends in the workshop and I also learned a lot about writing from veteran writers and editors.

Dawn Igloria and Angel Bautista were the guest writers and we had a chance to ask them questions. I was surprised that they recognized me (thanks to Facebook!) because it was my first time to meet them.

Angel Bautista

Dawn Igloria
With Sir Jun (PHR Owner/President)

Me signing a copy of my book.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Sullen Princess: Reprinted!

I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that one of my books, Sullen Princess, was reprinted! I thought my eyes were just playing tricks on me, but it really was true! It even has this new super cool cover. I love it!

I'm proud of this book because I went through a very hard time before it got approved by the editor. You see, Aurielle Torevilla's story originally had a different plot. I loved the idea of that plot. I fell in love with that plot! Unfortunately, the editor thought it was unrealistic. And yes, I guess she was right.

I had to do TWO major revisions and still it was returned to me those two times. I almost gave up. But then I decided to make a whole new plot. Give Aurielle a complete different story, and within just a week, the editor emailed me with a very positive feedback!

When it got published, it had a "Reader's Choice" seal on its cover. My first time to receive that seal! All those hard work paid off.

And now... after three years... it's been reprinted! I thought I would never see the day that one of my books would get reprinted. And it's a good thing because I have no copy of this book anymore. ^_^

I'm praying lots of people would buy this book. Because if this reprint copy would get a good feedback, maybe PHR would decide to reprint Naughty Princess too! Haha. How I wish...

PHR Grand Fan's Day

I know this is a late post, but I still want to share with you this wonderful experience last May. It was my first time to attend Precious Hearts Romance's Grand Fan's Day. I admit at first I was nervous of going. I usually get panic attacks every time I have to attend a big gathering. Besides, I thought nobody would know me or have even read my books. But some of my writer friends were going so at least I was assured that wouldn't feel out of place.

It turned out to be one of the most unforgettable days of my life. It was overwhelming when people would approach me and ask me to sign my own books! Some of them even brought the old ones which were published four years ago, and some also brought all of my published books just for me to sign. 

They all made me feel like a star. It was humbling to know that people actually read my works, yet it also made me proud of myself for giving the readers happiness. I was always doubtful about my own books. I thought nobody appreciated them. But my lovely readers proved me wrong. They gave me a precious gift that day---confidence.

It was my time to shine bright!

I had to give a short speech in front of a crowd!
Gifts and letters from friends and readers.

As an introvert, I'm usually shy about meeting new people---let alone be surrounded by them and taking lots of pictures with them! I'm glad Garnier Light Complete was there to help me achieve a lighter, healthy, glowing skin. A lot of my friends and readers complimented me for it, and some even started calling me as "Jessy Mendiola of PHR". Haha. Another confidence-booster! *wink

So here's what Garnier offers. Read and discover why this product is a must-have for every girl's beauty regime!
  • Enriched with active ingredients such as Pure Lemon Essence and SnowPine™ Whitesource, the Garnier Light Complete Extra UV Protection offers measurable fairness in 14 days and helps reduce 3 kinds of spots: acne marks, dark spots and sun freckles.
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  • It has the proven power of:
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    • SNOWPINE WHITESOURCE, a revolutionary whitening ingredient derived from a powerful molecule that exists naturally in pine trees. It has ten times more whitening efficacy than Vitamin C* to act on melanin synthesis at the source*.
    • SPF 17/PA++ to better protect the skin from further darkening caused by daily UVA and UVB rays.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Bida Girl (Nays)

I decided to make a weekly post about "BIDA" girls— girls who love reading love stories, girls who dream of meeting Mr. Right someday, and girls who want to be the next heroine in the stories of their lives. Today let me tell you all about the very first Bida on my blog.

Denice Anne Gonzales Dionisio

denise, anne, gonzales, dionisio, pretty, girl, nays
Nays Dionisio
She's on my Facebook friends list but I don't really know her personally. One night, as I was browsing the news feed, one of her status updates got my attention and I decided to check out her profile. When I clicked her profile picture, I was like "OMG!!!"

She's very pretty.

 I decided to make her the very first Bida Girl. When I asked her if I could do an interview with her, she gladly said yes. In fact, this eighteen-year-old girl from Valenzuela City was very happy and excited to do it.

Denice, or Nays for short, is a writer-wannabe and she hopes that someday she can finish a whole book so she can submit it to the publishing companies.

She also admitted that she likes reading pocketbooks because "It somehow takes me to a dimension where all happy endings happen. It's like an escape for me— a relaxation and inspiration as well."

"I'm more on romantic comedies," she further shared. "The atmosphere is very light. But I also like heavy drama because it can really squeeze my heart. I love that feeling. Awww! (Laughs)

We moved our discussion to heroes. I asked her what type of heroes she preferred. She said  she likes guys who are tall, have tsinito eyes, and a photographer or something like that. (So guys, do you fit that description? Submit your resumes now! Haha. Just kidding.)

"So, if you would have a chance to be in a love-story movie, who would you choose as your leading man?" I asked.

"Woooh." She seemed reluctant to answer the question. "Leading man. I dont have anyone particular in mind. Just refer to my type of hero. That's what I want for a leading man."

Her answer seemed vague. Looks like this pretty girl doesn't want to reveal who her crush is! But after a while she finally confessed that she does have a crush. "Let's just hide him with the name Jacob. And the title of our movie would be 'Sack of Love!' (laughs)

Hmm. I wonder who that lucky guy is. Nays has a face like an angel. She looks innocent and captivating. But don't take her too lightly, guys. This girl knows how to fight for what she wants!

When I asked her what makes a girl a true Bida, this is what she said: "A true heroine is a girl who fights. In every struggle in her life, she never gives up and continues fighting until she claims her true happiness. Nothing is really over until the moment you stop trying."

Wew! Very well said. It was such a strong and motivational message. I totally agree with her. Nobody wants to read a book with a coward heroine, right? It's the twenty first century. Damsel-in-distress heroines are histories. Women are more empowered today. Know what you want and do everything to win that goal. Not just in love, but also in every aspect of your life.

To close the interview, I asked Nays what love is for her.

"Love eases the pain. Love pushes us to do great things. Love completes us."

Dream Jobs

I have lots of dream jobs! Of course by now I already accepted the fact that most of them will forever remain as... dreams. I am already twenty-two-soon-to-be-twenty-three years old. I won't be able to study all of the required courses. Yes, it's possible, but it will take too long. I simply don't have the patience.

  • Teacher- This is my first dream job. When I was in first grade, I adored my teacher. That's when I decided I would be like her someday. 
  • Movie Director- Every time we watched a movie and there's a stupid scene, someone would say, "It's what the director wanted." To my young mind, directors controlled everything. They held the power of the universe. They were the masters of everything.
  • Archaeologist- Blame it to the National Geographic magazine my father subscribed to. Pictures of archaeologists digging something from the past caught my interest. I wanted to be like them! I wanted to know the secrets buried deep down the dust through the years. I wanted to discover long-forgotten things and go to historical places.
  • Interior Designer- I remember when I was young, I used to draw interiors of houses. I love planning what to put here and there.
  • Flight Attendant- Who doesn't like traveling and being paid by doing so? Yes, it is very exhausting, I heard. But you can't deny the fact that it is one of the most sought-after jobs. In fact, I still wish for this. I graduated in Travel and Tourism Management and I'm planning to apply to some airline companies next year. Wish me luck! *wink* 
  • Event Organizer- I love planning and I love events! My friend and I are planning to do this next year. We'll be business partners. She already has an experience in wedding planning, so I don't think this dream is beyond my reach.
  • Gift Shop Owner- I'm not sure if this belongs to this category. But yeah, I want to own a business selling cute items. Something like Papemelroti.
  • Mystery Shopper- I actually had an opportunity last month. I don't want to talk about it right now because it makes me want to strangle myself for not pursuing it. 
  • Actress- Let me tell you a secret. I actually want to be an actress! Haha. I DON'T want their lifestyle-- the thick makeup, the interviews, the screaming fans, the hectic schedule, the popularity... No. I'm not cut for that kind of life.  I simply want the acting part of it. You know, being able to pretend you are someone else. It's kinda exciting, don't you think? Maybe I should have been a theater actress.
  • Writing- Everyday is still a dream to become a better and more productive writer. I love this job because it allows me to be ANYBODY through my characters. In my stories, I can be a teacher, a director, an archaeologist... just any person that I want to be!

So... that's my list of dream jobs. What's yours?

Thursday, September 20, 2012


wedding gown, wedding, bride
One of my sisters got married today. I wasn't able to attend because it's expensive to buy air fair tickets and she only told me last month about that wedding, so I was not able to save. 

Of course I'm a little sad because it's supposed to be her happiest day and I'm not even there to witness it! But I won't torture myself in thinking about it too much. 

It's just that I can't help wondering about my own wedding. When and where will it be, and who will be the lucky (or unlucky) guy?

As a romance writer, I am a natural romantic. Gosh, I've been imaging about weddings since I was in grade school. Every time I got invited into wedding events, I would stare at the bride longingly and I always felt like crying. It made me excited about my own happy-ever-after.

Of course I've already grown up and some of my beliefs in love have faded. My stupid heart got broken a few times and I promised myself I will only marry the rightful guy. I won't let my heart deceive me again.

Still, I have this little hope that someday, somehow, I will walk on the aisle wearing the prettiest wedding gown on earth. A lovely music will play on the background and all eyes will look at me. I will smile my most gorgeous smile and I will look up to see my dazzling groom. I think I can see him wearing white tuxedo, but I can't see his face. I don't know who he is yet. 

Aaahhh... The beauty of weddings! Maybe that's one of the reasons why I like writing romance stories. To give you an idea of how obsessed I am about being a bride, just take a look at the picture above. I wore my sister's wedding gown when I was seventeen and posed for pictures. ^_^

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Book Translator

As a first entry for this blog, I want to talk about one of my jobs. Some people may think that translating a book is boring, but hey, it is actually interesting!

computer, book translation, translator, writing, job
  1. Time Freedom- who doesn't like controlling their time? I'm sure we all do. Unfortunately, most of the jobs require you to be in the office at least eight hours a day, five or six times a week. If you want to have a short vacation or if you're sick, you need to file a leave. I'm proud to say I don't do any of that! I only need to go to the office whenever I need to get a book or to get my check.
  2. Saves Money- Since I can just to go to the office whenever I feel like it, it saves me money from commuting. I also stay home most of the time so there's little temptation in buying things I don't really need. Staying at home also means I can cook my own food.
  3. Free Leisure- I love reading books. And because I translate books, I don't have to buy them anymore!
  4. Sharpens Mind- Trust me, it's not always that easy to translate English to Tagalog. But it's fun because you'll get to be creative on how to present an English sentence to Tagalog sentence without making it sound awkward. You have to decide if a certain paragraph can be revised to one short sentence or if it needs to be cut out entirely.
  5. Satisfies My Hobbies- Here's what I love doing most: writing and reading. I am actually paid to do the things that I love most! Cool, huh?

I'm interested to know about YOU too!
  • Are you happy with your job? 
  • What's your dream job?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Interview with Aira Ledesma

Aira Ledesma discovered her talent in writing as early as seven years old. Up to date, she has written hundreds of pocketbooks including the very popular Bestfriends Series. Here's a short interview with her.

1. When did you start writing?
As romance pocketbook writer,1995.

2. Have you ever experienced rejection? How did you cope with it?
The first time I experienced rejection, I stopped writing. I felt bad and frustrated. I kept the rejected manuscript for months. Then, there was this new publication that opened doors. I decided to submit my rejected manuscript with this in mind: if ever ma-reject ito uli, it means I am not meant to be a romance pocketbook writer. So what I did was I ironed every crumpled page of my rejected manuscript to make it appear newly typed. During that time, computers were not that popular yet so writers used typewriters instead. To my delight, which gave me a new hope, that manuscript was approved. In addition, an editor of another publication talked to me and got me to be their regular writer. That ended my frustrations and the rest was history.

3.)What do you do if you have the writer's block?
I stopped writing and turned off my computer. . I'll do something else and try to relax my mind. When I have rested enough from writing, I figured out what's wrong with my manuscript. That's the time I'll think what scenes should comes next. It is very important to get rid of the writer's block before a writer continues writing. For me, it's like an obstacle in a game. You can't continue playing in another level unless you have resolved the hindering obstacle.

4.)Any tips for the aspiring writers?
If you feel you are a borne writer by heart, don't stop dreaming to be one. Read as many romance pocketbooks as you can for a start to familiarize yourself with the formula. Yes, love story writing has a formula. As for myself, reading Mills and Boons was my training ground. By constant reading, I was able to determine how a story should run and what are the important elements that should compose it.

I got this tip from the first publisher that accepted my first published manuscript. According to him, the dilemma of the characters must already be established in the first ten pages of your story. He also said that the writer must have the ability to arouse the curiosity of the readers at the very start of the story. Most of the time, it must be written in the female character's point of view since the target market of romance pocketbooks are women. Aside from being a wide reader, the writer must know her characters and can give justification if ever there are deviations from the normal characterization.

Be attentive, be a good listener, be a wide reader, be a keen observer, be alert and aware with everything and everyone around you. For who knows? A single word that you may hear from a person next to you or a funny act from someone you bump in a department store may lead you to a good story plot.

Monday, February 1, 2010

A Place for Writing

Do you have a particular place where you write? Do you sit down in front of the same desk each day? If you don't, then maybe it's time you do!

Having a place for writing can actually help you write faster. It's almost like a habit. Your brain gets accustomed to that place, so every time you sit down to write, words and ideas can flow out easily.

It doesn't have to be grand or paradise-like. You don't even have to spend big bucks for it. Making it special in your own way is enough. Here's a list of things you can do to make a place where you can do what you love most. Writing!

  • Find a desk. Even an old one will do. If don’t have any desks or tables, you can purchase plastic tables at low prices.

  • Place it in a very comfortable room. Make sure it’s near an electrical outlet so you can plug-in your computer or if the day’s hot, an electric fan. It’s also nice to put the desk beside a window to let the air freshen you. Seeing the world outside can also bring new ideas to your brain!

  • Design it. Go! Let your creative mind work. Put something that inspires you to write. Some people like having papers on their desks. You can arrange some books from authors who inspire you or even books that you wrote.

  •  Put some flowers or pictures. A flower can brighten anyone’s day. But if you don’t like them or you simply don't have flowers, you can put pictures of loved-ones instead. You can choose whatever you want. After all, it’s your own place!

  • The last but absolutely not the least, maintain cleanliness. Did you know that mess is one of the factors of stress? Yes, it is! So, every now and then, keep your writing place in order. Besides, having a comfortable, clean place is good for your health. ^_^

Friday, January 29, 2010

Interview with Mariane Reign

 Mariane Reign was only fifteen when her first book got out to the market (probably making her the youngest tagalog romance writer!). Her debut novel, "Grow Old With You" was immediately followed by "Race Me To Your Heart". This talented young writer will be graduating from high school this March.

1.You're already a writer at age fifteen. How do you feel about that?
-Somehow, I feel delighted and very much thankful. For me it's one of the greatest achievement I've ever had. I consider it a miracle already Smile Though there are times I feel insecure with other writers. Is it normal? Oh yeah. I'm an abnormal Razz
Critics and readers make me flushed and all red whenever they tell me I wrote a nice story. I mean, it's like, writing is not my life but still, my writing touches lives.

2.When did you start crafting stories?
-If you mean writing stories, I started with fan fictions when I was nine. They were written in script-type though. I posted them in a site. Hindi ko alam kung bakit ako napunta sa pagsusulat ng nobela..hahaha. When I was in third year, I wrote a 172 pages playwright. It was a love story. And someone actually volunteered to print it out and bind it into one for free. Then they told me to try writing novels Smile

3.Who inspired you to write?
-My friends, primarily. Since most of them are quite fond of reading tagalog novels, they pushed me to write one, two and more. I didn't expect they'd like it though since I had no experience in writing such things. In my first try, I judged it a crap. But my friends liked it so I made two more that were clearer than the first one. And so Grow Old with You and Race Me to Your Heart were born.

4. What do you do to beat writer's block?
-Writer's block? I thought that existed too. But since myriad of writers had told me it doesn't exist, I erased that from my vocabulary. If I'm not in the mood to write, I read, watch T.V, talk and talk, listen to songs and daydream. Somehow it works. Smile

5.Ten years from now, what do you see for yourself?
-Honestly? It's unpredictable. It's either I'd be a psychologist treating people or I'd be a writer writing for the people. Right now it's 50-50. I think wherever I am at that time would be the place where I'd belong forever.