Hello, everyone. Thank you for staying with me up until this point.
As you may have noticed, I’ve not been updating this blog much lately. It’s not you; it’s me.
I’ve realized that I no longer have the time to blog regularly anymore thanks to my day job, my side jobs, and my passion projects. Beyond that, I’m finally ready to admit to myself that I’d lost sight of my original plans for this blog—which involved “reading” into my favorite media (books, shows, and movies, mostly) and the minutiae of my own life. I’m also ready to admit that I can’t commit to realigning with that original goal.
So I’m calling it quits and moving on from this blog.
You guys will still be able to find my posts here probably until July 2018. But I might slowly start moving some of them to my new site (with the more flexible domain name of ealmazora.com—it’s still under construction, though). I probably won’t be blogging regularly there either, but at least I have the slimmest of chances to make it more organized than Reading in Between.
I’m truly grateful to everyone who’s followed this blog over the years. I apologize for not being more consistent with my content here. If you’re still interested in checking out what I’ve been doing, you can always visit my new site, or reach out to me on Facebook or IG (my Instagram is mostly food and cats, though, so BE WARNED).
Again, I cannot stress this enough: thank you. I may be moving on, but that doesn’t mean I won’t miss this blog.
If you’re like me, you’re probably familiar with the agony and ecstasy of having a gigantic book pile. You’re probably also familiar with its random growth spurts, triggered by book sales and events like the recently-concluded Manila International Book Fair.
Want to know the reason why I was quiet for a long time? It’s because I was trying to embark on a clearly fruitless quest to make a dent in my pile of books.
To be fair, this wouldn’t be so hard if I didn’t have to work. Or sleep. Or eat. The spirit is most definitely willing, but my flesh is weak and I find myself just staring at (without actually seeing) pages so often that I sometimes just give up and go on YouTube instead.
Give me some credit, though. Over the last few months, thanks to the amazing people in #romanceclass, my bookworm self has been nourishing itself with loads and loads of romance books written by super talented Filipino writers. And I’m quivering with feels because they’re so good.
Wanna browse my current bookshelf? Here are the books I’m currently reading (or have read recently):
Sexy Suspense – The Takedown Trilogy
I’m swept up in Bianca Mori’s Scorched Earth (the third book) right now, and I’m equal parts afraid of it never ending—because the stakes are so high—and afraid that it will—because that means I’ll have to say goodbye to Peyton and Carson. I mean, how can you NOT love two characters who have complex souls and a complicated attraction to each other? I’m finding it hard to not spoil this book for everyone else because there are so many cool bits here.
5 word summary: Clandestine operations and European travel
LGBTQ Love – Another Word For Happy and Don’t Tell My Mother
I read these two books by Agay Llanera and Brigitte Bautista back-to-back because…well, it just felt right to do it that way. And frankly? I’m so freaking happy that I did. Even though it felt like I got heavily punched in the feels at certain points in these books (for a person who has near-pathological attachments to her family, the parent issues were so painful), you ultimately get some catharsis at the end. If you’re going to read these books, please read them one after the other. They’re enlightening and satisfying.
Describing all the feelings I have for this book by Chris Mariano is tricky. Quite frankly, I’m still digesting it all even though I’d read this a couple of months before. Something about it stuck with me, burrowed into my bones the way “Instructions on How to Disappear” did. All I can say is that all the pieces are beautifully written and wonderfully structured. It pretty much blew my mind and my soul, and I think it should be required reading for everyone.
I’ve been beating myself up for not buying a copy of this book by Carla de Guzman sooner, since I’m a huge fan of fabulous girls who are totally okay with who and what they are. Martha definitely falls into that category, and damn if I didn’t relate to her from the beginning (in which there were lots of yummy, yummy takeout). I’m not plus-sized, but I do like to eat and there are people who feel the need to comment on that. And then there’s Max, who reminds me of a human puppy even though he’s actually a veterinarian. This book is so good, you guys!
5 word summary: Food, family, fake boyfriend, doggies
Of course, I’ve read tons of other books over the last several months; and the only reason why they weren’t featured here is because I binged by author and I can’t pick just ONE from their work (I’m looking at you, CP Santi). Someday, I might start writing full-blown reviews for each of them again.
But right now, I just want you to know that these beauties exist and that they deserve your money.
I’m trying to be more mindful when I’m reading again.
Over the last few years, I’d fallen into the habit of reading purely for pleasure (losing myself in fiction, poetry, and memes) or reading to learn new things and improve my skills for my day job (also enjoyable, in a different way). I’d find myself just sailing through narratives or reducing pieces to bite-sized pieces of facts I can incorporate into my thought processes.
And while my brain thinks just the same when I do these things, it’s stopped chewing and savoring the significance of the stuff I read. It’s not bad that I do it. It’s just that it’s made me impatient for the next thing, the future that always looks better before you get to it.
What I mean to say is I rarely stay present for the present anymore, especially when it comes to reading.
It’s part of the reason why I signed up to be a beta reader for BookBed Fictory. One of the things I used to do as a teen (about 15 years or so ago, and I’m not ashamed to admit it!) was read other people’s work and really take the time to evaluate them:
Did I enjoy it? (Important question)
Why? (REALLY important question)
How could it improve? (Helpful AF question)
Beta reading stories for Fictory will push me back into the mindful reading state of mind that I used to really get into. Its added bonus, of course, is that it forces me to really think about the stuff I write too. Will readers enjoy this? Why will they enjoy it? Can I write this in a way that will make them enjoy it MORE?
The long and short of it is it’s a great mental exercise if you want to be more present, which in turn is absolutely helpful if you want to be a better writer than you were before.
It’s also great when you’re a die-hard reader who wants to find more books to read without having to rely on “if you liked this, try reading this” types of articles on the internet. If you pay attention to what you like and dislike, it’ll be much easier to shortlist stuff for your TBR list and minimize the risk of getting a book you’ll regret spending money on.
It’s happened to me so many times, guys. So many, many times.
I’m not saying I’ve mastered this, by the way. I, like most bookworms, am easily distracted by shiny new things, which is why I’m still waffling over whether I’ll go to the MIBF this weekend (are you guys going? I hope you have fun!). I just know there will be books over there that I’ll want to buy for the sake of buying, without taking my established preferences into consideration. But then there are folks I want to support at the event, so…
Anyway, my real point is that I’m trying to re-establish an old reading habit I’d lost when the years piled on so I can be reacquainted with myself, and I believe it’s a habit that can help anyone. All it takes to read mindfully, after all, are a few simple questions.
What are you guys reading right now? Are you enjoying it? What parts do you like? What elements or tropes are a must-have for your reading material? What do you avoid reading? Let me know!
It’s certainly not the first time I’d done this: I’d submitted my work for collections before. Some of them even got published. But none of those projects had ebook versions on AMAZON.
Now, after almost a month since launch, I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. I’m part of this thing. It’s a pretty great thing. How the hell did I get here?!
I mean, I obviously volunteered. When the wonderful Kate Sebastian put out a call for submissions for summer love stories, I signed up for it because I hadn’t really written a love story for a year or so at that point. I wanted to challenge myself.
And boy was I challenged. Because while I did in fact have an outline, one side character didn’t care and kept mugging for attention.
Sure, you can argue I could’ve written about him instead. But with an established word count and the deadline looming, I didn’t really have time to do that. Especially with a character who’s such a wild card. So I pushed on with my original plot.
It was like giving birth to a cactus. The only thing that got me through the whole process was the rum Coke I fortunately had access to (because we have a mini-bar at home) and the support of my family—my siblings in particular, who kept checking on my progress and agreed to read my work as I crammed on D-Day. My brother was pretty good at calling me out (gently) when he caught me slacking off, and my sister was a superb sounding board. They even tried to stay up with me as I chased the deadline.
I wouldn’t have made the cutoff without them. I love my family for the support. And the alcohol.
The writing/submitting experience alone taught me so much! Some of the things I’d learned:
I really need to cultivate more discipline when it comes to writing my own work. When I work on projects for other people, I find it easy to work on a schedule. But for some reason, I can’t do that with my own work (I’d rather sleep or read other people’s books. LOL). I should’ve up come up with a stricter schedule.
I need to find ways to get past the idea of failure. I have days—weeks even!—when I just get overwhelmed by setbacks. I start thinking I shouldn’t bother doing this because I’ll just let people down with my crappy work, and end up clinging to a bed or couch unable to touch my manuscript for at least two days. I should’ve pushed harder.
I should have just let that side character go wild. I could’ve just taken out those sequences and put them in another story. That way, Teo wouldn’t have tried with all his might to take over the piece. Because apparently, my characters fight me when I try to make plans for them.
It’ll be difficult to translate this into action, because I’d already established habits I find hard to break. But I’ll definitely keep trying.
At this point, I’d like to thank not just my supportive family but also everyone in the Summer Feels group and my long-time friends. The Summer Feels gang didn’t just encourage each other, they also shared their progress and some tips to motivate the participants. My long-time friends cheered me on, reminding me that even if I didn’t believe I was any good, they certainly thought I had potential. They even shared my Summer Feels promotions (K, I’m especially grateful for your mad sharing skills).
I know I have a long way to go. I need to work harder on my romance/kilig writing (I’m a little rusty when it comes to that), and I definitely need to have a more efficient process! This experience taught me I was capable of surviving it. I’m super grateful for that, and I hope you guys keep reading.
Now on to the next projects (which include a prequel to “At the Bermuda Triangle”, a collection of my poetry, and more stories from the Bermudaverse)!