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. .

 

 

“A Tea Party & Books” Scavenger Hunt

Hi, Romance Readers!

I’ve got a special treat for you. I’m one of the sponsors of the Night Owl Romance “A Tea Party & Books” Scavenger Hunt.

During this event I’m going to help you find some great new books. Make sure to check out Boracay Vows along the way, if you haven’t done so yet. It’s free on Kindle Unlimited.

The grand prize is a $100 Amazon Gift Card.

Enter Now at: https://www.nightowlreviews.com/v5/Blog/Articles/Tea-Party-Books-2018

Event Dates: Feb 15 – Mar 8

TeaPartyandBooks2018BigSplash

 

 

Happy New Year – 2018 Goals

A review of my 2017 Goals/Plans:

year-end-review-shutterstock_540968041

  • Rewrite and edit Boracay – Done
  • Write New York and Singapore – partially done
  • Publish Boracay and New York – Boracay Done
  • Set-up a blog – Done
  • Set-up a Facebook Author page – Done
  • Join Romance Writers of America – Done, plus the San Antonio Romance Authors chapter, too
  • Win NaNo again – Not done
  • Read 180 books – Read and reviewed 208.
  • Spend only $240 on books – Success! Spent only $190.
  • Attend a writing conference – Not quite. Attended a one-month editing workshop and four reader events all over Texas.

Based on these results, I consider 2017 to be a successful year.

 

goals-2018-620x330

For 2018, here are my goals/plans:

  • Finish writing New York Engagement, have it edited and published. Target date: Saturday, March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day)
  • Finish writing Singapore Fling. Publishing target: July 2018.
  • Achieve full PAN status at RWA.
  • Get Boracay Vows into independent bookstores all over the US.
  • Secure local distribution for Boracay Vows in the Philippines. Attempt a movie deal.
  • Read and review at least 120 books for Goodreads Reading Challenge:
    – 1 craft book on writing/editing/publishing
    – 1 male author/non-romance
    – 4 historical romance (2 from my Mount TBR, 1 ARC, 1 new/new-to-me)
    – 4 contemporary (2 from Mount TBR, 1 ARC, 1 indie author)
    Rereads will be after the 10 have been fulfilled.
  • Attend a writing conference.
  • Spend only $180 on books.
  • Register a profit on all books.

So, here’s to 2018. May it be the Best Year Ever.

#Thankful – Boracay Vows

On November 21, I celebrated my birthday and the book birthday of Boracay Vows and it was awesome!

This has been an incredible year and I wouldn’t get here without the love, encouragement, generosity, and support of my family, friends, and even strangers.

My husband is a Rock Star. His belief in me is unwavering. I am not exaggerating when I say I couldn’t have accomplished this without him. He gave me the means to put this book together and have it published. Our son is my inspiration, my heart. I am grateful that at eight years old he can already prepare his own meals, otherwise he’d starve. Expert of things Stevie. Bad mommy.

I am ta novel byhankful for my book club OSRBC. They were there for me from the very beginning of this journey. Their encouragement propelled me to turn my two-pager opener into a full-length novel. OSRBC members informed me about the National Novel Writing Month and cheered me on as I pantsed my way into winning in 2016 with Boracay. They’re the first ones to pre-order my book and help me spread the word around. Best book club in the world!

My editor Linda Hill is from OSRBC. She saw me through dozens of drafts from December in 2016 all the way to proofreading in November. If there are mistakes in the book, they’re most likely things I changed after she gave the final manuscript back to me. Thanks, Linda.  Sorry, Linda. To my writer friends who are planning to publish independently, you are going to need an editor. I recommend you contact Linda ASAP.

Many of my Beta readers are also from OSRBC – Eva Moore, Rizalee, and Cecille. They’re the ones who pointed out what’s missing as well as what’s there that they loved. Thanks, ladies.

My cover designer also belongs to OSRBC. Lucy Rhodes of Render Compose was recommended to me by a common friend Leni Browne and I just marvel at how in sync we were while doing the covers. She’s in Australia, I’m in the US, but there were no barriers to our communication. Another note to my indie friends – ask me for Lucy’s contact information. You won’t regret it.

There are so many people to thank: my sister Myrtle and future brother-in-law R.G. Gallardo; one of my forever friends Chiqui; my first boss and fellow book-addict N; my Belarusian sestra Yulia; design consultant Celeste Odono; fellow Indie writer Rainne Mendoza; reenactors of my cover concept Renee, Tiara, Chippy, Lia, and Jonathan; my ARC readers, and my barkadas UNYLACE, CPP, and Burlesque. Thank you very much. Maraming salamat.

Special thanks to Tessa Dare for her wonderfully motivatTessa Dare noteing words at the beginning of the year. She told me, “Doubt not.” Sometimes I did, but I persevered and now I’m a published author.

And now, I’m thankful.

 

 

Cover Story – Boracay Vows

Last week, I revealed the cover of my debut novel Boracay Vows and I’m so happy with the response I got from everyone who’s seen it. Some kept asking if that was me in the photo. I wish! I may have looked like the model twenty years ago when I first went to Boracay, but not now.

This has always been my vision of it from the beginning. A girl sitting on the white sand of Boracay facing the sea. When I was writing it during NaNoWriMo2016, this was my working cover. IMG_4213

Renee, my friend from high school, took it in Palawan and although it’s beautiful, it is not Boracay. So I pressed on.

In the past year, every time one of my friends would check in from Boracay, I’d send a message asking them to take a photo and explaining my concept. They were always accommodating. Here are a few samples from the ones I received.

Boracay reenactments

Stunning, right? Whenever I get a photo, I was always envious that I wasn’t there myself.

Although great on their own, I wanted more of the recognizable Boracay icons on the cover. However, I’m not too proficient with photo enhancement softwares, so I consulted with an expert. Lucy Rhodes of Render Compose came to the rescue. After a few email and Facebook Messenger exchanges, we got it done. And it’s done very well indeed.

I really love it. I can’t wait for the readers to meet Krista and go to Boracay through my book. Coming very soon.

 

 

Photo credit: Renee, Tiara, Jonathan, and Chippy.

 

RWA-Oct-Jripley-1

 

Cover Reveal: Boracay Vows

Friends, meet the luscious, vavavoom Krista Lopez, heroine of my first book Boracay Vows. Krista is spending this week in the island paradise of Boracay, Philippines to fulfill her Turning-Thirty Vow — the promise she made with her barkada to do something extraordinary in celebration of this milestone birthday. Today, November 2, is her thirtieth birthday. Happy birthday, Krista!

 

Cover reveal--square

 

Many thanks to Lucy Rhodes for her patience while I hemmed and hawed over every image, color, shade, and font before deciding on the final combination. I really appreciate you.

Thanks also to my sister Myrtle Ruaza, photographer-extraordinaire Celeste Odono, and my token male-point-of-view opinionator husband for bearing with my constant demands for observations and agreement with my concerns. Thank you, salamuch, mwah!

I love it, y’all! Release news coming soon.

Diversity, Thy Name Is Not Romance Novel

As a writer-of-color, I do appreciate the study recently conducted by The Ripped Bodice. It puts a spotlight on the sad state of racial diversity in romance publishing. Whether it changes anything is the challenge moving forward.

Nielsen did a similar study in the past and presented the report at the Romance Writers of America’s Annual Conference in 2016. The statistics then, as shared by Publishing Perspectives, were even more dismal.

20171006_171700816_iOS

 

I guess we can rejoice that the 2% non-white writers previously reported has ballooned to 7.8% in 2016. But, different research bodies, different samples, different methodologies make comparisons statistically invalid.

I am happy someone is pursuing the issue. I have long complained about the dearth of representation for Asians in the novels I read. That’s why I’m writing my own. But, I’m not going to sit around waiting for some publishing house to suddenly email after six months telling me that they’ve finally unearthed my manuscript from the depths of query hell and they now need me to increase their diversity numbers.

The truth is I want to control the setting of my novels, the design of my covers, the date of my publication, and the amount of my share of the sales, no matter how minuscule. As I can’t do those things with traditional publishing, I’m going indie. I’m sure many writers of color like me have the same mindset.

That doesn’t help improve future data for The Ripped Bodice’s study, but maybe they could expand it by investigating racial diversity in self-published romance in the future. It is almost a sure thing that it would yield more positive results. Perhaps instead of harping on traditional publishers to improve their inclusion, they should embrace independents more. Just my two cents.

 

Here’s the full report:

RippedBodiceReportFINAL