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Songs to Get Over You

Writing Now

Miki and Ana’s Twenty Questions

In Songs to Get Over You, Ana suggests that she and Miki get to know each other better by playing Twenty Questions. Now I don’t know the actual questions you’d find if you get this game, but as Ana said, the rules are pretty simple: 1. You answer all the questions, and 2. The questions don’t have to end at 20.

So here I’m sharing with you Miki and Ana’s version of the game. I’ve put down my own answers (feel free to ignore them, haha), and I thought it would be fun if you answer them too. Tag me?

Okay, GO!

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Writing Now

2016 – The Bookish Year That Was

It feels good to do this again, because it tells me that 2015 was not a fluke or a very vivid daydream, but was something that really happened and led to more things in 2016, writing and publishing-wise.

In 2016, I:


  • Wrote a children’s short story for Bayong ng Kuting called The Kitten She Didn’t Love, loosely based on the love-hate relationship between my sister and our indomitable male feline, Bing. This may be a trope.
  • Wrote a story spiral for Ines Bautista-Yao’s blog, starring Miki, because some days my feelings belong to him.
  • Attended a YA writing class organized by Bronze Age Media and facilitated by Ines, because I liked hanging out with the people and because my YA wheels needed oiling.


  • Participated in Manila International Book Fair on the first year that #romanceclass had a booth. It felt surreal. Until now I know my understanding of its significance remains dim and narrow. Suffice it to see though that our booth was right in front of National Bookstore, but our books were being bought anyway, such that panic-reprinting and restocking had to happen. Suffice it to see how the community came together, in manning the booth and playing tindera for the day and hollering mamser, pagibig? and recommending each other’s works to readers. There was already boundless joy and pride in that.
  • Felt kilig over and over again in live readings. In April Feels Day (special kilig because theater actor Jef Flores read as Miki from Songs to Get Over You), Feels Rush In, All The Feels, and Feels Fest.


  • Met wonderful new people—fellow writers, readers, both local and international. Saw a bit of how people in other places responded to my books, and got the happy surprise of seeing them accept my book people too.
  • Signed up for my second Mina V. Esguerra workshop, #romanceclass2017, a thing that is carrying me through to 2017. That and a fun project with #romanceclass chicas Six delos Reyes and Tara Frejas.

I ended my 2015 post with a list of goals, and I am happy to have checked them all off in 2016, at least at the minimum. So I thought a new list would be a good way of ending this post too.

In 2017, I will:

  • Write and finish my #romanceclass2017 manuscript. This is uncharted territory for me, because of the POV, the steam level challenge, and largely because this is a new universe, not the familiar terrain of my band boys and girl in the Playlist series. Scareciting. I’m building a Pinterest board as I write, because I do that now, apparently (visuals are important). Check it out if you’re curious? 🙂
  • Write one more book, maybe YA. Maybe Nino, or Kim, or someone yet to be imagined. Will see where my feelings will take me.
  • Publish one to two books.
  • Work on the fun, secret-for-now project with Six and Tara.
  • Go out and go places and do new things for feelings, special challenge dated 12-10-2016 in mind.
  • Rest and recharge haha because sometimes I don’t like to do this until my body breaks down and forces me to. And being forced to rest doesn’t feel restful at all, if that makes sense.

Every year is bound to be better than the last. That’s a good way to look at things, right? I’m going to keep that in mind. Hello 2017! I hope you’re ready for more of my words and feelings 🙂

Writing Now

Happy Book Birthday, Shinta! Songs to Make You Stay is Live <3

I agonize over writing a lot (normal), but it took me more than a few months to finally decide and write this book. As far back as last year (soon after releasing Songs of Our Breakup), my friend/fairy godmother Layla and I had been plot-bunnying about this. It was supposed to be Miki and Shinta in one book, in alternating perspectives. But then I thought, ‘no, what a mess that would be.’ Also they deserved more than that <3 So Miki got his own book, Songs to Get Over You. Now Shinta has gotten his, and they share the same timeline.

Although I thought I left him and Jill in a happy space in Songs of Our Breakup, I also knew it wasn’t going to be easy for them. Because long distance relationship. And celebrity problems, on both sides and in different ways.

So yay, here you go. Here’s Shinta’s story. I hope you’ll enjoy spending more time with him like I did. Happy book birthday, Shinta*!

Songs to Make You Stay (Playlist #3)

Love isn’t supposed to be this hard.

Now that he’s finally won Jill, the girl who’s always rocked his world, you’d think life would be heaven on earth for Shinta Mori. In a way, it is. But maybe he’s underestimated the fact that he’s a hunky movie star in Japan while his girl is ruling the indie music scene all the way in Manila.

When he spends a long-awaited vacation with her–through impromptu performances, frenzied flyer distribution, and unhinged radio guestings–he realizes how imperfect his seemingly perfect life is. And he begins to wonder if what they have is strong enough to survive years of being apart.

Can Shinta prove he’s worthy of the spotlight the universe shines on him? And more importantly, deserving of the devotion of a young girl in love?

Cover design by Tania Arpa. Photography by Hazel Caasi, featuring Yuki Sakamoto.

Available on Amazon. Paperback launching on #romanceclass FeelsFest. Also available via this form.

*Happy birthday to you too, John Lennon!



Writing Now

A Day in the Friendzone. November 17, Monday, afternoon, one year ago

This is a companion short story to Miki‘s book, Songs to Get Over You.


“That girl?”


“The one to her left? Pink sweater, legs that go on for days. Wow.”

“I’m pretty sure I can’t.”

“How about her friend?”

“Too bulky…”

“Mikhail. Are you a weight-ist?”

“No!” Miki shrank back at the laser beam glare Jill shot at him. He put both palms up and rushed out his explanation. “I actually think she’s pretty and perfectly rounded in the right places.”

They were sitting on the gnarled wooden bench in the College of Economics front lobby, slumped on their seats, limbs in lazy angles, trying to wind down after a full day of classes. Jill pulled herself up to the straightest line her long spine would allow, hovering over Miki with her signature stern stare.

“Then what?” she hissed through pursed lips.

Miki winced, eyes darting back to the girl in question. He thought he recognized her from one of their Economics classes. The pretty and perfectly rounded girl had stretched out on the aged bench a few meters away from the one he and Jill had claimed.

The decrepit wood creaked in protest against the girl’s sudden movement. Miki was sure Jill heard it too.

“I think she can crush me,” he muttered.

Jill bit her lip, her eyes on the same scene. “You do bruise like an overripe mango.”

“See?” He grinned in triumph. He unlocked his tense limbs, glad the game of Find Miki a Girl to Ask Out had wound down. “Now what do you say we hit the library like we said we would before heading home?”

“This is hopeless,” Jill cut through him, wringing her hands. Apparently it was not game over yet. “I can’t be friends with an NGSB!”

Miki rolled his eyes. It was a habit he had picked up after years of hanging out with this girl. And it was a habit he’d used on her often, in times such as these when she claimed a term like NGSB. As in ‘No Girlfriend Since Birth.’ Miki sighed. Their bandmates Nino and Son almost died laughing when they first heard Jill say the term. But after those seemingly endless rounds of laughter they teamed up with Jill in her appeals to get Miki ‘exorcised’ from this condition. 

“Why not? It’s not a disease.” Miki felt he’d made this argument too many times already in the past few weeks.

Jill turned her entire body to face him, edging closer with one knee pulled up against her chest. “But you always tell me what to do with Kim. How can I trust your relationship advice when you’ve never even been in one?”

Her dark eyes were wide and grave. Miki knew she was serious, and funnily so, very much concerned about this whole issue. It was fine, though. He didn’t expect Jill to get it. That he didn’t need to be a girl’s boyfriend to be in love with her. Not all guys got to enjoy that luxury.

Of course she didn’t get it.


Read the rest of the story in author Ines Bautista-Yao‘s blog here. Thank you for the feature, Ines! MUAH <3

Songs to Get Over You is available on Amazon and in print here.

Writing Now

[Repost] #romanceclass: Love and Secret Identities

I see a few of the previous #romanceclass articles featured confessions. So here is mine: I’m using a pen name.

That won’t come off as a shock, I am sure, since I’ve been fairly open about it. When I first decided to venture into self-publishing, the next decision to make wasn’t even if I was going to use a pen name, but what pen name to use.

I told myself I was doing it to separate my identities. I wanted my author self to be in this box, while the rest of me—the corporate girl, the teacher—to be in this box. Separate and distinct. Organized. I wanted Google searches for my real given name—and I know HR people at the very least do this—to pull up results linking to my daily 9-to-5 life, and just that. It was done to prevent confusion. To maintain some semblance of order.

But when I am being honest, I know I did it because I wasn’t ready to be found out as writer, and a writer of romance.


Growing up, my parents surrounded me with books and not Barbies, but much as they didn’t mind the fiction, they did push the Math and Science books toward me with more urgency. For the most part their efforts worked, if my academic and present career would show. But I also had my Sweet Valley Highs, and my Unicorn Clubs, and eventually Sophie Kinsellas and Meg Cabots. And as early as elementary school, reading romance wasn’t enough. My imagination was wider than that. So I wrote romance in notebooks with a ballpoint pen, about girls and boys and kisses.

I hid and protected these notebooks with my life. I figured my parents would be shocked if they knew. I was groomed to work in a cubicle, in a building with an elevator. There was no space for writing about kisses there. But beyond that anxiety was another, more pressing one. One that was best encapsulated by every other writer’s favorite question—is this story about you?

I wrote my first New Adult romance novella Songs of Our Breakup without a thought of publishing it, just because the story was there in my head and it wanted out. And yes, because the process of writing it gave me kilig and feels. It’s about a girl in a band fresh out of the dissolution of a seven-year relationship, and her Japanese celebrity friend who was there for her when she was picking up the pieces of her broken heart. When it was finished, and I’d decided to publish it, I feared that ultimate question.

“Is this story about you?”


Read the rest of the article on Bookbed here <3