Proud Romance Reader

The ebook of Dangerous Books for Girls, Maya Rodale’s nonfiction book on romance novels, is on sale for $2.99. This book, published in May 2015, is based on Ms. Rodale’s master’s thesis which examined the stigma attached to consumption of this genre.

As a reader–and now, writer–of romance novels, this study fascinates me. Even when I was young, I was never ashamed of reading them because I was known as a math nerd. Nobody maligned me for my choice of reading materials. The only reason I hid books within the folds of the skirt of my uniform was that I was not supposed to be reading during school hours, and not because of the subject of my book. I would have done the same for a Shakespeare or a Charles Dickens title. But then, it’s probably because I grew up in the Philippines, where you’re encouraged to improve your English as best as you can. Reading anything in the language was an accepted–even approved–means of doing that.

I never knew that Americans are looked down on when they read romance. That was weird to me because most of the books I read in Manila were from the US. Even when I came to the US in 2005, I was still oblivious. Had I been interviewed for this study, I would have been one of the “50% of romance readers who love the genre and don’t care who knows it”. I surely would have answered that romance novels make me happy.

As a writer, I am encouraged by this infographic. Especially as I’m hoping to address the lack of diversity in characters and settings issue mentioned here. I hope my multicultural, contemporary novels set in Southeast Asia will find a place in the romance readers’ bookshelves. I certainly hope they won’t feel guilty about reading it for pleasure.

Thanks, Maya Rodale, for this enlightening study. Your books are now going up on my TBR pile.

Neveralonegreatbook

Write without fear, Edit without mercy

Among those I credit for inspiring me to write my own books are Rainne Mendoza and RG Gallardo. They are two brave souls who trusted me to be part of making their dream–publishing their first book–come true. They allowed me to opine on their labors of love and believed that I knew what I was doing when I clicked on my imaginary red pen and slashed my way through their manuscripts. Thankfully they emerged triumphant and managed to release their books in spite of my meddling.

Now that I have completed a book of my own after having gone through five rounds of editing, my respect for Rainne and RG went up a thousand-fold. I hope I have even a fraction of their fearlessness when it’s time for me to publish. Thank you both for the inspiration and for the encouragement. I learned so much from working with you. I hope I learned the lessons well.

Fobolous is available on Amazon Kindle and other sellers.

Survivors 1 and Survivors Part II are also available on Amazon Kindle.

 

 

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.

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.