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Hikaru Saito

Writing Now

Freebie Alert! Blossom Among Flowers Turns One

It is exactly one year to the day since I released my first ever book baby into the wild. ONE YEAR! I can’t believe it’s been that long since this series of rambling posts (1 2 3 4). Heh. I can’t help feeling sentimental and nostalgic.

I was very afraid to even think of self-publishing then. A few years earlier I’d tried the traditional route (at the time, the only route I knew) of sending query letters to international agents. I received polite rejection emails if I was lucky, but for the most part I was ignored. Can’t say I didn’t expect that. I was peddling a 180k-word YA manga-Jdorama novel thing that I didn’t even know how to explain.

So I shared the book with the one person who knew I had written it, and asked if she would like to read it. You know, exclusively for feels. She knew why I’d written it in the first place. We shipped the same sunk ship, so she was super sweet and supportive. She got back to me with the book printed in short bond paper and ring-bound (maybe done in UP SC?) in two copies–one for her to keep, and one for me with little sticky notes of her thoughts and feelings.


We laughed, we giggled, we bonded over it, then the untitled book slept in my hard drive. (Aside: before the first draft was completed I lost my first hard drive and all the words so I had to write the whole thing over! But that’s a story for another time)

I kept coming back to it every once in a while. But I was already working on what would become Songs of Our Breakup then, and another thing based on another ship/crush. I started reading about self-publishing, and found Mina V. Esguerra and Marian Tee‘s blogs. I even sucked up the courage to email Mina and message Marian. Both were very sweet people (ILY guys). But it took me Easter 2015 before I got the just-do-it epiphany. Mostly because other people were doing it already, and were succeeding at it, and also because I was turning 30 then and I was terrified (I eventually got over this).

So I got to work. I pared down that monster of a manuscript to 65k from 180k (what was I thinking? I wasn’t writing a Westerosi epic!). I found people willing to help, cold-called some people (Mina, hello haha), and eventually, on a random day in July, hit publish. I made a lot of mistakes, but I was honestly happy to make them. Because the mistakes meant I’ve done it. I’ve written and I’ve published, and I can learn from these mistakes and be better. I also met lovely readers (they exist! Hurray!) and of course the wonderful #romanceclass people who make this writing thing all the more fun and crazy. ThankyouthankyouthankYOU everyone <3

Anyway. I said I wouldn’t ramble. Told you I’m feeling sentimental. The point of all this, really, is that I’m stoked and I thought to share my gratitude and happiness with a giveaway, YAY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Join to win a paperback copy of Blossom Among Flowers or a WearDPT shirt or any #romanceclass eBook.

Otanjoubi omedetou Takeshi and Hikaru! お誕生日おめでとうございます。<3

Life and Lemons Writing Now

The Year I Didn’t Turn 30

I realize this is my second 2015 year-end post, and there will be some overlapping highlights. I guess the double-post of sorts is testament to how remarkable last year had been.

And I did turn 30, technically. But going into 2015 I thought that’s all this year will be: the one when I turned another decade, wherein I would embark in a more serious hunt for anti-aging implements that worked, and I would solemnly swear that I’d watch what I eat, and that I would figure out if I like my day job enough. But I think it’s that fear exactly, of aging, of a bucket list I can’t keep up with, of being more than ever required to be an adult, that pushed me to take the leap on things I’ve only dreamed about. This year, I looked at some of those dreams in the face, and went ahead and grabbed them by their slippery tendrils. Continue Reading

Writing Now

Paperback Giveaway via Will Read for Feels: Blossom Among Flowers

Last month, I released print editions of my two books Blossom Among Flowers and Songs of Our Breakup. If you missed that exciting announcement, you can find the order form here. If you have your eyes on my manga-novel Blossom Among Flowers though, here, have a giveaway! <3 Click the link and join the raffle, brought to us by the sexy ladies of Will Read for Feels. Raffle is valid only until this Halloween Saturday, October 31. So come on, CLICK NOW.

If you need further convincing, author and StrangeLit classmate Chi Rodriguez live tweeted as she read the book. Scroll down for her fun, spoiler-free tweets.


BAF tweet

BAF tweet1

BAF tweet3

BAF tweet2


And she ended this live tweet session with an actual puking-rainbows review on Goodreads.

Ready to join the giveaway NOW? Awesome.

Blossom Among Flowers is available on Amazon, Buqo and in print.

Writing Now

Blossom Among Flowers: Cover 2.0 and Print Book!

My first book Blossom Among Flowers was plenty busy last month!

  1. It had its very first virtual blog tour thanks to the wonderful folks at Pinoy Book Tours,
  2. It received sweet, tears-in-my-eyes reviews from Anne of Will Read for Feels, Camelle of Home of a Book Lover,  and Claire of Coffeebookmom (thanks for giving my weird, manga novel a chance guys *group hug*)
  3. It had a new cover thanks to the magic of Tania Arpa. I loved the first cover, done by my awesome friend Sarah Magdasocbut I thought I’d give it a makeover and experiment with something that looks more fun 🙂

Oh, and last but not the least, Blossom Among Flowers AND my New Adult book Songs of Our Breakup are now available in print! Fill out the order form here to get your copy.

Phew. September was a good month 🙂

Blossom Among Flowers is available on Amazon, Buqo and in print.

Music Dance and Lyrics Writing Now

The Flower Boy Soundtrack

I don’t normally play music when I write. I need silence. I need a vacuum. I need my mother to stop talking to me about errands and my cat to stop purring on my lap (though that’s really very sweet of the cat. I’m sorry, I take that back).

When I get stuck though, I turn to music. And usually, the music plays in my head. Sans iTunes, YouTube or Spotify. For Blossom Among Flowers, I was writing a story set in Japan about bishounen–beautiful boys or flower boys, and the spunky, manga-addicted, high school girl caught between them. So it made sense to me that my in-head playlist was composed purely of J-pop/J-rock (albeit vintage) hits. These would be the following:

Arashi. Love So Sweet

Arashi. One Love

L’Arc~en~Ciel. Link

L’Arc~en~CielStay Away

Hikaru Utada*  Flavor of Life,

Hikaru Utada Traveling

Ai Otsuka. Peach

Photo and video credits to owners.

*Yes, I named my Hikaru Saito after this wonderful, glorious woman.

Writing Now

Blossom Among Flowers, Super Final Word Count

Blossom Among Flowers at 65,002 words.

I say super final because I now refuse to touch it. Not because I don’t love this book anymore. But because I’ve had it in my computer for almost a decade now. Even longer than the longest relationship I’ve ever had (and that one was long). If that’s not love, I don’t know what is. It’s been through at least three beta-edits and two editors, and now I have finished my super last pass on my very first book, literally a piece of my heart and good chunk of years of my life (apologies for the cheese).

Editing and writing are always best done before breakfast for me. But the tricky part there is that it usually extends to way past lunch time. I’ve been surviving on cookies and tea for hours now. So now it’s time for a proper late brunch (labrunch?).

Later I will format. Then my cover designer needs to come home from Boracay. Then after eight years, I can finally hit Save and Publish <3


Title: Blossom Among Flowers

Genre: Young Adult


Unlike most people, 17-year old Hikaru Saito likes being invisible. Perfectly happy with her nose buried deep in her growing manga collection, she hardly notices how her “harmless hobby” is taking control of her life. But when she fails an important exam, Hikaru is forced to spend more time with her studies and her new tutor, fellow student, campus genius, and golden boy Takeshi Hinata.

Unfortunately for Hikaru, Takeshi’s popularity in school forces the spotlight on her too. His adoring fans don’t like seeing how much time they spend together and punish her for it. Luckily, Tetsuya Sakuishi, a new young and beautiful teacher, is always there to save the day for Hikaru. It doesn’t help that his smile distracts her, however.

Like her tormentors, Hikaru cannot understand why Takeshi keeps showing up in her life long after the tutoring sessions are over. As if the complications of grueling exams and university applications weren’t enough, a haughty socialite mother, an imposing business mogul father, and a princess-in-hiding all come bearing down on Hikaru. Through it all, Takeshi is there, looking at Hikaru like she’s not invisible after all.