#FeelsFest: Mamser, Pag-Ibig

You can’t read romance without having your feelings go all crazy, more so if you write it. #romanceclass #FeelsFest is all about the hugot and the kilig and everything that goes with it.

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October 22, 2016 was a long anticipated day by the community of writers and readers that make up #romanceclass. There have been many smaller events in the past, such as April Feels Day, (Trinoma thing), and workshops that helped writers be more attuned to their craft (and enjoy some time with LI and MC pegs).

The event was hosted by the Ayala Malls, who tapped the #romanceclass to help support their Little Library. Guests of #FeelsFest who donate books to the cause get to pick from a selection of ebooks, all penned by RomanceClass authors, in exchange.

Here are my Top 5 Things about FeelsFest

5: Donate a book, get a book
FeelsFest was hosted by the AyalaMalls, who tapped the #romanceclass to help support their Little Library. Guests can donate books to the cause and get the same number of ebooks from #romancelass writers, in return. It’s a great way to get something new to read, even if you’re on a budget. You’re also helping people get more books to read through Ayala’s Little Free Library.

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Just a few of the books you can get for free with your book donations!

4. Games
Registered guests can join in the games. There’s the Photo Scavenger Hunt, where you have a list of things you need to take a photo of. Mind you, it’s not just simply taking a picture. I looked through the list and some of them will require guts, if you’re a shy person like me.

Then there’s the RomanceClass Bingo. You’ll have a grid of descriptions, and you’ll need to find someone who fits those. You can’t have someone filling in more than one box at a time, so even if you know someone who can fit many of the descriptions, you’ll have to find someone else. It was a fun way to get to know the RomanceClass community.

3. Community
Turnout to #FeelsFest was amazing! I arrived past noon and there were already quite a few people going around. Past events were pretty well attended, but the venues were smaller. We had some reservations at holding it in a bigger and much more public place, but fears were laid to rest when people came, stayed, and had a great time. While majority of the crowd were friends, family, and fans (yes, there are those!), there were a few curious onlookers who came by, and hopefully got a copy of the books!

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There is no clear division between writers and readers. A lot of the writers are readers themselves, and quite a few of the readings are also diving into writing, inspired by the enthusiasm of the writers. Then there’s the people who support them: friends and family, people who contribute to the books as character pegs, knowledge resources, cover and layout artists, editors, inspirations, actors…

2. Live Readings
Mina had this idea of having parts of the book read. A year ago, she tapped the help of theater actors Gio Gahol and Rachel Coates to read excerpts. It was only for a class, but it grew and grew until now we have several actors and actresses. The first time, it was for the writers, and it was a fun way to see how their work was interpreted by other people.

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Here are the books that were read:

  • The Hometown Hazard by Dawn Lanuza
  • Sweeter by the Second by C.P. Santi
  • Tempting Victoria by Mina V. Esguerra
  • What You Wanted by Mina V. Esguerra
  • Save the Cake by Stella Torres
  • Keep the Faith by Ana Tejano
  • When Sparks Fly by Ines Bautista-Yao

It also proved to be a great marketing tool, because people flocked the book merchandise table to buy what has been read, and more! Some of the books were sold out halfway through the event!

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1. New Releases
FeelsFest was the venue for eighteen new books. Considering that there was no recent romanceclass held, this was a big thing. Many were new releases from romanceclass veterans, but some were from first timers. It was awesome to see their works being snapped up and gushed over.

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Here’s the list of new releases. You can get ebook copies from Amazon.

New #romanceclass releases

Here’s to more feels!

Yearly Challenge: NaNoWriMo

October has just started but writers all across the world are now gearing up for the yearly NaNoWriMo challenge: Write a complete novel of 50,000 words or more in 30 days (or less).

Last year, I had the good fortune of winning the damn thing, and by winning, I mean that I reached the 50,000 word count. Let’s not talk about whether or not the story finished. :p

Because of that win, I was declared Newbie of the Year by the MLs of NaNoWriMo Philippines. It was a big suprise even though I had been doing NaNo for 10 years.

Below is a screenshot of the message that was sent out to our local mailing list. Here’s hoping that it will provide inspiration to those who want to give NaNoWriMo a try, or have tried and never finished, or have finished many times before.

NaNoWriMo Pep Talk
My pep talk for NaNoWriMo Philippines after winning it last year.

And I guess I’m a sucker for punishment because I’m going to give this another go. See you at the finish line.

The #BuqoYA Experience: Writing Under Pressure

I have a soft spot for YA books. It was what really got me into reading. My shelves were crammed with books like Sweet Valley Twins, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Enid Blyton, to name a few. These days, YA has expanded to include so many other genres. I’m not even sure if I’m classifying it correctly.

I was still high from my NaNoWriMo win so I decided to sign up for an online writing class with Mina V. Esguerra. Mina’s been making waves in the local romance writing and publishing industry, as she’s been promoting books and encouraging authors. Call it an advocacy, and it has been paying off. It’s my second class with Mina, the first being #flirtsteamyreads wherein I failed miserably. This class is about young adult romance fiction, and it was sponsored by digital distributor, Buqo.

The reward, other than the satisfaction that you have finished a story, is a possible distribution contract with Buqo. How’s that for amazing?

Because of my schedule, I couldn’t attend the face-to-face meetings. I tried to keep up with the classes through email, Facebook, and Twitter. Social media certainly has changed the trend of writing. It used to be solitary, and writers suffer through challenges on their own. Now, if I’m stuck, or if I need inspiration, a quick status update with the hashtag buqoYA would net me responses of encouragement, suggestions, and silly stuff that would make me laugh.

While I consider one’s drive and desire to finish the story as one of the biggest factors in finishing a story (aside from having a story to write of course), having a community also helps. It makes you feel less alone, and in a way, it makes you competitive. When you see others improving or accelerating, you want to do it too. And because you’re with people who have the same interest, you’re not so shy anymore when it comes to telling the world what you are writing.

The workshop ran from January 19 to February 28. Stories follow certain guides as set by Mina, and should be a finished story of at least 5,000 words long. Personally, I think the deadlines helped because it forced me to write. And not just put down words, but also to make sure it’s coherent and well written. While writing with a deadline doesn’t appeal to everyone, in some cases it works. I became more conscious about the passing time, and I managed my time so I can finish my tasks AND be able to write my story. It hasn’t improved my style or my writing habit drastically, but I know better now. It has also helped me become more familiar with how I write, and what I want to write.

I would definitely recommend joining a class hosted by Mina. Not only will get your work done, you can also pick up tips and ways on getting your work out there. You’ll meet new friends, and hey, you will most likely end up with a few new stories to read.

If you’re interested, there’s another workshop coming this April. Contemporary New Adult (NA) romance, and those who finish may get a publishing contract with Anvil’s Spark Books. Sign up, sign up for the SparkNA workshop!

Finally: NaNoWriMo win

Note: This was supposed to be for November 2014, but there were a lot of things that needed to be prioritized, hence the delay.

After ten years and countless beginnings, drafts, heartbreak and frustration, I’ve done it.

I finished writing 50,000 words in 30 days and finally have that purple bar on my NaNoWriMo profile proclaiming me a winner.

A photo posted by Kat Sales (@saberkite) on

Continue reading Finally: NaNoWriMo win

November 2014 Summary

I’ve got a horrific backlog of posts for this November. Work and school kept me busy, and they have their own backlog too. Quick summary of what’s happened so far, starting with the latest.

NaNoWriMo Winner!
50,312 words in 30 days. Validated my words on November 3o, 2014 10:30 PM (GMT +8). About 20k of those words were written in 14 hours of Nov. 30. I do not recommend it. Story’s not done, but I’m putting it aside until after my finals on the 13th.

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Canva Creatives Conference
I feel lucky that I was able to attend and I got to meet the people behind this online tool. I love the site, and it has been an invaluable tool for me at work. A proper post with photos to follow.

#CanvaConference kit. Had an awesome time.

A photo posted by Kat Sales (@saberkite) on

Filipino Reader Con
My second year to volunteer! Got great books, met awesome people and had a really amazing time. Post and photos to follow as well.

#FilReaderCon volunteers. Had a wonderful time. Next year ulit! Photo from @fantaghiro23

A photo posted by Kat Sales (@saberkite) on

There’s still a lot in between, but that’s it for now.

Oh my, it’s December already!

[Filipino Fridays] Intro + New Discoveries: Surprise, Reader!

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And we’re back! Can’t believe it’s been almost a year since the last ReaderCon. It was my first time to attend, and boy did I ever participate. I’m excited for this year, because the theme is something pretty close to my heart. Filipino ReaderCon 2014: Readers Turned Writers.

We count down to the event itself through the weekly Filipino Fridays. Click on the link to learn more about it. This week’s question is:

Surprise, Reader! Hello, it’s the first week of Filipino Fridays 2014! Whether it’s your first time to participate or not, tell us a bit about yourself. More specifically, tell us about your favorite book discoveries for this year. Any author you started reading this year that you can’t get enough of? A book you didn’t think you’d like, but you ended up liking/loving? Any book series that you just have to get your hands on? Have you discovered anything new from Filipino authors this year?

It’s my second time to join FF, and the past year has been an amazing ride of new reads. I had plenty of new reads this year, but I thought I’d share what my favorite books are from Filipino authors. In the last year, a few friends released their self-published works, which immediately became part of my must read pile. Then there’s the writing workshops I participated in a few months ago. I never got to finish my story, but the others were able to successfully finish theirs, so my reading list grew.

Kids These Days (Stories from Luna East Arts Academy Vol. 1) – Various authors
A few of the writers are my friends, so it was a given that I read their work right? Reading this threw me back to my high school years, where every encounter with my crush/es was something worth writing down in your journal. Or, Sweet Valley (twins, not High, ironically). I enjoyed the various points of view of the stories, and each one has little surprises that keep you wanting more.

Continue reading [Filipino Fridays] Intro + New Discoveries: Surprise, Reader!

Booking Through Thursday: Fanfiction

What do you think of fanfiction? In general—do you think it’s a fun thing or a trespass on an author/producer’s world? And of course, obviously specific authors have very firm and very differing opinions about this, yet it’s getting more popular and more mainstream all the time. Do you ever read or write it yourself?

The first fan fiction I’ve ever read was of the anime series Ranma 1/2. This was back in the early 2000s, and I wasn’t happy with the way manga-ka Rumiko Takahashi left Ranma and Akane’s story as open-ended. I had stumbled across fan fiction quite accidentally, and while I have read many terrible works, there were still plenty of great ones that filled the gaps and what kids these days now call “feels”.

Over the years I’ve read fan fiction of the fandoms that I loved: Harry Potter, Danny Phantom, ​Sailor Moon… even encountering some zany cross-overs (Louis-Philippe Giroux​’s Lines of Destiny remains my favorite, even though the author as discontinued it and someone else has gotten his permission to continue it).

I have tried my hand at writing fan fiction too, particularly back in the days when I first started reading them. These stories were written in longhand, spanning several notebooks and various pieces of paper that I can no longer keep track of.​ After a time I’ve started writing on the computer, but none of these will ever see the light of day (mostly because I think they’re terrible and I haven’t got time to encode and edit them). However, I have published one very short Harry Potter fan fiction and an unfinished one over at FanFiction.net.

Obviously, I am a fan of fan fiction. That isn’t to say that I don’t respect what the writers who do not support it feel about it. If they don’t like their fans writing fan fiction about their work, they are well within their rights to say so and do something about it. I can also understand why they don’t want it, as authors tend to feel protective about their characters like they were their children, and take pride in how they wrote it. It’s also one of the reasons why I don’t publish my fan fiction, or when I do, I try to write them in a way I feel the author would.

For me, writing and reading fan fiction fills the holes that the original work failed to do. Not that I don’t love them any less, but I want more. The variety of fan fiction works gives me options that allow me to find what it is exactly that I want to fulfill. For example, I’m frustrated that Jo March and Laurie Lawrence (Little Women by Louisa May Alcott) did not end up together, so fanfics give me alternatives. Maybe they got together after a few years, or when they were older. Nothing will change the original story, but for a moment, I feel better about them.

Of course, there are many issues when it comes to fanfiction, particularly along the lines of plagiarism. It’s a pretty grey area, especially if the fanfic writers established that they do not own any of the characters or worlds, but have exercised some liberties but still acknowledge the rights of the original author. There are recent issues as well, particularly in the case of Cassandra Claire, which I won’t go deeper into. But for fun, I think fan fiction is all right. It’s good practice for aspiring authors. Just be considerate of the original author’s wishes and never ever claim others’ work for your own.

P.S. Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl gives insight on the world of fan fiction and the mind of a fanfic writer.

Writers in Talks 2012

Writers in Talks or W.I.T. is a day for both readers and writers to come together and talk about books and the writing process. It is hosted by Philippine publisher Visprint, and is already on its second year.

The whole day affair was held at the Alphaland Towers in Magallanes, along EDSA. As early as 7:30 am, attentees were already queued for registration. Earlybirds were given a Visprint bag and some printouts of works from the guest authors and speakers.

Anne was the one who brought W.I.T. to my attention, having attended last year. This year’s event had not just the usual author talks that one would expect from similar events, but it also had book launches and surprising fun presentations from a few of Visprint’s authors.

Waiting for W.I.T. to start

The morning’s talks were split into two: Fiction writing and comic book writing. It was a difficult choice but I went with the latter while Anne went to the former.
Continue reading Writers in Talks 2012

Kwentillion First Issue

I heard about Kwentillion through some folks I follow over Twitter and Plurk. I didn’t really pay much attention to it, because it was another comic book anthology.

On a recent trip to National Bookstore, I saw the issue and thought it looked better than I expected. The cover art was done by Chester Ocampo, someone who I had been following for a while now on DeviantArt. The magazine is published by Summit Media, so you can guarantee the quality of it.

I was surprised when I opened the magazine and found that the layout is not colored like other magazines, but monochromatic. The paper is of good quality, not glossy but not newsprint either. The magazine size is just right, quite like the Animerica Extra magazines that I used to get back in highschool.

And that is what Kwentillion sort of reminds me of: A collection of comics, articles, interviews and stories, showcasing the brilliant and creative minds of Filipino writers and artists. I have yet to finish the entire issue (I wanted to make it last for as long as I could instead of devouring it in one sitting), but I like what I’m seeing. Continue reading Kwentillion First Issue