NEW YORK ENGAGEMENT – Cover Story

Carpe Diem Chronicles 1 and 1.5

Krista Lopez, with her American boyfriend Blake Ryan, goes from the white sands and blue waters of Boracay Island to the bright lights and majestic skyscrapers of New York City.

From white bikini to red winter coat.

From sun to snow.

It’s important for me to show that NEW YORK ENGAGEMENT is a continuation of Krista and Blake’s romance and I believe the cover delivers completely. It certainly looks like the same girl on the cover. The hat and the way she holds it is an excellent identifier. The fonts, the colors, and the composition are all in sync with my Carpe Diem Chronicles brand.

Like the grotto in Boracay, The Empire State building is easily recognizable as a symbol of New York City. There was never any question that it would be on the cover of any book I write that is set in The Big Apple.

Many thanks to Render Compose for finding Krista once again and for being so easy to work with. This cover was done in only a couple of days – another quick turnaround considering my designer is in Australia and I’m in the USA. Thanks, Lucy.

I hope y’all like the cover of NEW YORK ENGAGEMENT as much as I do and grab a copy for yourself. .

 

 

Adopt, Adapt

Adopt a positive attitude. Adapt to changes.

These are truisms we try to keep in mind whenever we travel. Heaven knows we needed every bit of flexibility and patience we could muster during our trip to and from Scotland and Ireland. Again, it wasn’t the being there that was the problem, it was the getting there and back here to the US that were stressful.

We had a wonderful time in both countries. All of us enjoyed the rich history, the breathtaking scenery, the refreshing weather, and the fascinating attractions in all the places we visited. The hotels we stayed in–Doubletree in Edinburgh and Fitzwilliam in Belfast–provided our needs well and were conveniently located. We hope to go back someday, especially to the Highlands, which we didn’t see during this visit. I just wish we could just teleport there and won’t have to go through London’s horrible Heathrow or Chicago’s O’Hell, I mean O’Hare.

It started well enough with the flight from Belfast actually leaving on time. Terminal 5 at Heathrow was so poorly constructed, it was a mad dash again to get to our gate for our flight to Chicago. We didn’t have time to get our tax refund at all. And, naturally we arrived late in the States, thereby missing our connection to San Antonio. It is virtually impossible to go through the immigration and security processes for entering the US within two hours, much less the lone hour we had.

Thanks to British Airways, we had an unplanned extended vacation in Chicago. They sponsored our hotel and meals for the night we had to stay until our morning make-up flight to Texas. We actually appreciated the night’s rest for we were simply exhausted. In hindsight, arriving home at daytime instead of midnight turned out to be a better choice for us.

So, if there are lessons I’d always remember from this adventure, they are:

  1. Have a sense of humor. Murphy’s Laws are forever at work, there’s no use flipping out when things go wrong.
  2. It is okay to over-pack. Always keep a fresh set of clothes, especially underwear, in your carry-on bag. Flights will get delayed, luggage will get lost or left behind.
  3. Carry an extra tote/sack in your bag in case you go over the weight limit. Remember: dirty clothes are heavy.
  4. Buy an adapter.

CE_approved_universal_plug_adapter

Last, smile. And the world will smile with you. Truth.

 

Photo credits: Confucius quote – quotesvalley.com, universal adapter – Bing search

 

I Love Traveling, I Hate The Trip

My boys and I are traveling right now. We just left Scotland after 3 days there. Stayed mainly in Edinburgh and took a bus tour to the Kingdom of Fife – Anstruther, St. Andrew’s, and Falkland.

We’re now in Belfast for the Irish leg of our journey. We’re taking the Game of Thrones tour tomorrow and then plan to go to Dublin on Friday.

MapGB

The best part of this vacation had been arriving in our destination. The getting there were some of the worst experiences we’ve had. Our flight from San Antonio to Dallas was delayed twice and we were on the line for over an hour just to get our bag checked in–we already had our boarding passes. We got to our gate in Dallas just in time to make the flight to London. It was an eight-hour flight, but there was no way to sleep with crying babies, the crew serving drinks/food, and occasional turbulence. The flight to Scotland wasn’t too bad, until we waited and waited for our luggage which did not arrive. It was left at Heathrow. Thankfully, it was delivered the same night.

Today was another nightmare.  We arrived at the Edinburgh airport early only to find out that the power was out and all systems were down. They needed almost one hour to restore the computers, because heaven forbid they had to write the boarding passes manually, etcetera, etcetera. Flight to London was again delayed and we barely had time to make our flight to Belfast because we had to tour the whole airport before getting to our terminal. Once we arrived in Belfast, we were not even surprised to find out that our luggage was once again left in Heathrow. This time, the bag is not going to be delivered until tomorrow morning. Yep, they’re two for two in losing our bag.

It’s a good thing I was once a Girl Scout and had a change of clothes for the three of us in our hand-carry. At the end of the day, we got here, we’re all together and safe, so we’re not letting this anger us too much. As for American Airlines and British Airways, they won’t be getting a good review from me anytime soon. I really miss Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Thai Airways, and Changi Airport. In my opinion, the Asian airlines are the best in the world. No one can convince me otherwise, especially after today.

 

Photo credits:  featured image – transom.com; map – Bing search

 

Boracay and Me, Our 20th Anniversary

Twenty years ago today, I went to Boracay for the first time and fell in love…with the island. I experienced that indefinable, magical feeling of coming home even though I wasn’t born there, had never been there until March of 1997. It wasn’t as if I had not seen the beach before then. I grew up with the sea only a few steps away from our house. No, Boracay was different. Special. More.

It was a combination of things – the white, fine sand; clear blue waters; fragrant sea air; sweet, delicious mango shake; and best of all, the company of my best friends. I can only recall the beauty and deep contentment of being there, my friend had to remind me about the masses of people who, like us, were spending their Holy Week in the island and the turbulent waters during our boat tour. I didn’t mind those things. I was happy. I was home.

Boracay Krista Quote

We only stayed three days that first time. They weren’t nearly enough. I had to go back three months later with a different set of friends. From then on until I left the Philippines to migrate to the US, I kept going back to Boracay. It became an annual pilgrimage for me. Even when I was working in Indonesia and Singapore and had gone to the famous beaches in Bali, Phuket, Sydney, and Brisbane, I still wouldn’t miss a trip to Boracay. That’s how much I love that island. I don’t need any travel magazine to tell me it’s the Best Island in the World. I already know. I have known for 20 years now.

So when I decided to write my first novel, there was never any doubt where I was going to set it–yep, you guessed it–Boracay. In my book One Week in Boracay, I created a fictional exclusive resort named Perlas, which is supposed to be located on the Northeast part of the island where Yapak, Punta-Ina, and Ilig-Iligan beaches are. Perlas has its own airstrip (instead of the golf course that’s there now), a dream scenario that may or may not be possible given the topography. The Boracay in my book is my ideal, the one I first fell in love with in 1997 – a clean, quiet, less commercialized place that’s a balm to a person’s soul.  It’s the one I’d like to go back to again and again even if only in my books.

Happy 20th Anniversary to us, Boracay! I will be with you again, soon.