Book Launch! #ChocolateInk

book launch

Yes, that’s right! Say hello to Book 2 – Chocolate Ink!

I haven’t been posting these past few months because, aside from work and preparation for other monumental events, I have been working on this project. And so here it is! My second baby is out!

All the love and a whole lot of credit go out to:

  • Chito Rosario and Christina Crisanto for their lovely illustrations
  • Edward Louie Nonay for designing the book cover
  • Kate Ashlyn Dayag for her calligraphy skills
  • Adrian Crisanto for organizing the event, for the poster, for his support, and for his amazing idea box
  • Kristine Cimafranca for letting us use her cafe for the launch
  • Books On Demand Philippines, Inc. for printing my books out, once again

Find the event page for the launch here. More details about Dialogue Cafe here. <3

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The Girl Who Sailed with a Star

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There is a village in Benguet where a giant wearing a broad-brimmed hat spent days staring at the sun and nights talking to the moon. They called this giant Mt. Kalugong. For, the truth was, he was simply a mountain who came alive while children slumbered underneath thick knitted blankets and dreams.

At the foot of Mt. Kalugong, there lived a little girl shy as a tiny mouse. She rarely went outside the doors of their steel and wooden house.

“Nabuteng, please buy vinegar from Manang Rosa.”

“Can someone else do it, Mama? Aling Rosa scares me.”

“Gahh, fine, I’ll ask your brother. Balong, gumatang ka ti suka! Did you ask Manong Nestor if he’s done making your uniform already?”

“I haven’t, Mama. I don’t think I can speak in front of Manong.”

“If you won’t ask, who will? Not me, not your Papang, not Balong. Hay!”

Such was the usual exchange between Nabuteng and her mother.

One February night, a star danced over the child’s bedroom window. The star had heard about the girl who was too timid to go out. She peeked through the curtains. She watched the child’s chest rise and fall, and rise and fall, and rise and fall, and she wondered what scared Nabuteng so when she was awake. Sleeping, the child didn’t seem to be afraid of anything.

“Child, come away with me.”

They had already soared over mountains, over valleys, over hills, over plains when Nabuteng’s eyes flickered open. “Whe-where am I??? Wha-what is happening to me?”

“Hello, Nabuteng. Welcome to the world beyond.”

“Be-beyond?? Ta-take me home! Take me home please.” Nabuteng whimpered as she covered her face with her hands.

“You’ve made it this far. I will take you home. But I have yet to show you more.”

The child continued to snivel. But slowly, as they continued to sail over more mountains, over more valleys, over more hills, and over more plains, wonder replaced the fear in Nabuteng’s eyes.

“This… This is amazing…”

“It is. I’d like you to meet some other stars, too.”

“Wha-what? Other sta-stars? No – I can’t!”

“Yes, you can.”

And on and on they sailed.

“Hello, Nabuteng.”

“Hello, child.”

“Such a lovely girl.”

Little by little, the bashfulness in her heart disappeared.

“He-hello.”

“Hi… I’m Nabuteng.”

“Hello… Nice to meet you, star…”

And on and on they went some more, until Nabuteng realized that they were home.

“See, that wasn’t so bad now, was it?”

“No… It wasn’t. Thank you.”

The child crept back to her bed, the stars and the mountains tucking her back to sleep.

The next morning, as Mt. Kalugong said good morning to the sun, he saw at the corner of his eye a little girl emerging out of a steel and wooden house waving at the sky.

Assignment 3 (Coursera: Writing for Young Readers)

The Frozen Guitar

guitar

Billy’s guitar was frozen. Yes, frozen. No, not broken. He hadn’t used it in a while. Well, eleven-and-a-half months to be exact. A few more days and it would be a year since he strummed its silver strings and cradled its mahogany body. How he missed making melodies with his faithful friend.

But Billy wasn’t as faithful to his friend as his friend was to him. He had unintentionally tossed the guitar aside ever since he got busy with school, with his football team, and with trying to impress Leah, the loveliest girl in his grade. Actually, Leah was the reason he got into football in the first place. He reckoned she’d be into guys who did a lot of sports.

Yet, after months of kicking a black and white ball around, Billy apparently still didn’t manage to make it into the girl’s radar. As much as the smart, beautiful, kind schoolgirl made butterflies flutter inside his belly, Billy decided it was time to let Leah go and move on.

“There you are, old friend.” Billy found the guitar freezing away in an isolated corner of his room. Frost had crept along its neck. Icicles were hanging from its tuning keys. Crystal strings had replaced its silver ones. “What happened to you?”

The instrument hummed weakly in response. Regret washed over Billy as he recalled all the songs he and his guitar used to play together. “Remember Elvis?” came a feeble sigh. “Remember the Beatles? Remember Imagine Dragons?”

“I remember.”

Billy took the guitar into his arms. As he did, the ice began to melt away. Not magically, like in movies and cartoons. It was messy. Drops of water gathered around his bedroom floor. He patted the instrument dry using an old sweatshirt. “Let’s start making melodies again.”

Assignment 2 (Coursera: Writing for Young Readers)

Threads

We’re interwoven. We pretend to be autonomous or we would like to think we are. But somehow, something in the universe connects us, binding us in more ways than we had originally known.

A Malaysian tells his taxi driver kanan and the guy goes right. A Filipino tells a pedicab driver this and he does the same.

A Filipina yuppie recalls watching Ultraman as a child. An Indonesian professional says he did the same.

And on and on. Tiny threads that string us together into a colorful banner circling through the world.

culture

In Transit

Aaaaand – it’s out! My first self-published e-book is out! It’s more like a project/experiment, but nonetheless, it is one step closer to the dream. The introduction reads:

I’ve always wanted to write a book. Unfortunately, all I had were scribbles of plots and ideas for anthologies. I did have a draft for a collection of short stories, but I didn’t think it was there yet.

Enter “21 Days of Poetry”, a project I took on so that I could reacquaint myself with words while releasing some pent up melancholia. Most of the poems from this collection came from there. And then I realized I had other poems which never saw the light of day. Not only that, I had a few flash fiction pushed behind some back drawers, too.

Thus this project. Would I already be able to call it a book? I know it is more like a mini-e-book. Whatever this is, I believe it is one step closer to the dream.

Most of the prose and poetry were written with transition in mind. In less than two months, I would be saying “goodbye” to my foster country, Malaysia, and saying “hello again” to my home country, the Philippines. Why? Mostly for love. I am a hopeless romantic, yes. That’s why a lot of these poems revolve around the themes of love and long distance relationships.

Enjoy the poems here. Avoid the temptation to rush through the way we often do with life.

Are you ready? The next train arrives five minutes from now.

You can download “In Transit” here: In Transit.

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21 Days of Poetry

It’s time to flex those literary muscles again. And I’ve been feeling too much lately. Might as well channel everything into something creative. Thus this new project: 21 Days of Poetry. To help me cope-through/live-through/breathe-through this month of October.

I’m no poet. I’m more into prose – flash fiction, short stories, those sort of things. When I write in verse, I usually write them with melodies already in mind – thus the songs I’ve composed over the years (they’re not that good, but I’m quite happy with them). I did write a couple of poems when I was in secondary school. Love poems for crushes, published under a pen name in the school newspaper and literary folio. But I haven’t been that much into poetry since high school graduation.

But I do put on my poet hat once in a blue moon. Those blue moons being days I turn into a melancholy wreck. So hey, let me try this project out.

I wrote this the other day in one of my secret blogs (I have quite a lot of them, actually):

Poetry

I write poetry
To capture
Emotions that are fleeting
– But feel so real –
At the time.

I’ll be capturing emotions for the next 21 Days (though yesterday was already actually Day 1). I won’t be posting those poems here though. They’ll mostly be for me. But you might find snippets of them flying about. If you’d like to follow this project though, drop me a message through Scribbles and Stories and we’ll work something out. :D

Week #50: The Antique Perfume Bottle

There it is. Gathering dust. Looking more and more antique as the days pass. There was a time I frequently brought it out, let the fragrance arise together with incense to the Throneroom. Now, I rarely bring it out. In corporate or big celebrations, perhaps. But regularly? No, it feels to painful to do so. Maybe because it’s too spent out. Maybe because I’ve grown too accustomed to the smell. Maybe because —

I’ve too many excuses. I should get it out. Fill up the vial once again. Fill it with my tears and my cries. Wipe the dust off with my hair. And let the fragrance arise.

Once again.

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* * *

And so ends the 50-week-though-not-really-50-week Writing Challenge. How should I push myself in writing this 2015, I wonder? Well, one thing I am sure of – it is going to be a wonderful writing year. ;)

Cheers!

Weeks #48&49: A Mystery

“He was unconscious when I found him.”

“Huh? Come again?”

“Oh, sorry. There’s a piece of paper stuck in the drawer. I was just reading it out.”

“‘He was unconscious when I found him,’ huh. Go on. It sounds intriguing. Like something out of a mystery novel.”

“Actually, it does look like it’s part of one. Look. It’s a draft. A page from a manuscript, maybe.”

“Let me see. Ahh, yes. The strikeouts. The proofreader marks. That one’s a draft, alright.”

“Do you think it ever got published?”

“Who knows?”

“So maybe the person who owned these drawers was an author.”

“That’s one possibility.”

“How exciting! Hey, do you think we can track him or her down?”

“Hold it there. Don’t get carried away or else we might be the ones stuck in the mystery.”

“Hmmm. Maybe I should start writing my own draft, too.”

“Now that’s a thought to ponder.”

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