The #SummerFeels Experience: A Reflection Paper

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.

ReadinginBetween_Lion King Overact
Dammit, Teo. Stop quoting Lion King! (photo by Matthew Murphy, from The Lion King tour)

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.

ReadinginBetween_Sibs and Mom
Me with my sib squad and my Mom (who provided the necessary alcohol).

The writing/submitting experience alone taught me so much! Some of the things I’d learned:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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)!

April Feels Day 2017 Feels!

a.k.a. My Wallet and I Barely Survived April Feels Day

People who know me know I’ve been a hermit for the last half-decade or so. I usually don’t go out for events unless it’s Komikon or work-related (and even then, the event needs to be accessible). But it was different last Sunday.

Last Sunday was April Feels Day, and a book I’d contributed to was launching that day.

ReadinginBetween_April Feels Day Banner
Image taken from https://www.facebook.com/events/248843262242162/

April Feels Day is an annual feels extravaganza for the #romanceclass community writers and readers. It’s basically the event for local romance readers to get their kilig on.

It’s my first time participating in the event on top of being my first time being an author who had to sign actual books. There were so many copies of our book “Summer Feels”, and it was overwhelming. So much so that I seriously messed up the autographs on some books. If you happened to get one of those copies, I truly do apologize. Please feel free to email me at ealmazora@gmail.com, and I will send you a poem or a short scene (50 words or under) with a prompt of your choice.

Group signing
Photo of a bunch of us signing books c/o co-author Bentham Hurtado

That said, I still had fun signing books with my fellow Summer Feels authors—especially my signing batchmate Irene Jurado (she wrote “Love After Summer”; if you have our book already, you can jump straight to her story). As we signed the books, the program started with book presentations (including ours).

After we finished signing all the books, I finally found time to shop for other people’s books. Look how glorious the shelves were:

ReadinginBetween_Feels_Day_Shelf_1

ReadinginBetween_Feels_Day_Shelf_2

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I eventually had to stop because I forgot to bring an extra bag for all the books I wanted to buy. 😄 Also, I was hungry since I hadn’t had lunch. So I wandered over to a nearby shawarma place, re-energized myself with soda, and went to Hey Kessy to buy a canvas bag so I can get more books later (I also got a print copy of “All’s Fair in Blog and War” by Chrissie Peria from them because it was there and I wanted it).

Had a bit of a breather before the readings started.

That’s a good thing because THOSE READINGS ALMOST KILLED ME.

I’m not kidding. I had to use my inhaler like five times through several readings because I almost stopped breathing. My uterus definitely was destroyed and revived repeatedly. I now worship the wonderful theater actors and actresses who graced us with their stellar performances.

My phone battery was running low at that point on account of me forgetting to bring a power bank, so I didn’t get photos or videos. Thankfully, you can find recordings of the #romanceclass readings here.

Following the reading was a photo op session—mainly so folks can take photos with the crazy talented readers, but also to take pics with each other. The Summer Feels folks got a chance to get a class photo of sorts.

ReadinginBetween_Summer_Feels_Class_Photo
Photo care of our co-author/editor Kate Sebastian

And then I bought more books right before the rest of the book launches, because why not? These are all the books I ended up with at the end of the day:

ReadinginBetween_Book_Haul_Feels_Day_2017
Aren’t they beautiful?

It was AMAZING. So many great people. So many good books. And I learned a few things too, like:

  • I literally get starstruck around authors whose work I recently read; unless they approach me first, I tend to just hide in a corner watching them in awe (the hiding applies to Jay E. Tria, Six de los Reyes, and Tara Frejas, whose books I’d devoured the week before) no matter how nice they actually are
  • I also alternate between friendly and shy/awkward around new people in general, so if we met last Sunday and I seemed off/weird, I apologize
  • I mustn’t forget to bring a canvas bag, power bank, and extra inhaler for stuff like this

I’m so grateful for this event, and I can’t wait for the next one!

Summer Surprise: #SummerFeels Cover Reveal!

Summer Feels Romance Anthology Cover Reveal

Hi, everyone!

Yeah, I haven’t been around much, have I? Sorry about that—I got distracted by paperwork, work (the kind that makes me money), and more work (the kind that doesn’t make me money yet, but hopefully will because I love doing it).

Gotta say, though: all the stress is worth it for moments like this: having my name appear alongside other super-talented writers for a special summer romance anthology.

Folks, I’m excited to present:

Summer Feels Romance Anthology Cover Reveal

But first, about the book:

Summer Feels

A #romanceclass anthology
Genre: Romance
Release Date: April 30, 2017

Summer loving happens so fast, as you’ll find with Summer Feels, an anthology of 23 stories of love under the summer sun by #romanceclass authors. Savor the candied thrill of firsts—first loves, first kisses, first solo vacations—and the bittersweet triumph of second chances. Tour the Philippines as the stories take you to mountain retreats and island paradises. Let the magic of the hot sun, clear blue skies, and lots of love take you on a roller coaster ride of feels. With stories ranging from sweet to sexy, there’s sure to be something for any fan of romance.

Edited and compiled by Kate Sebastian

Continue reading

World Poetry Day!

It’s World Poetry Day, and I sadly haven’t written any in a while because I’ve been in a funk. But! That doesn’t mean I can’t celebrate the occasion with someone else’s poetry.

That someone else is Joel M. Toledo, who taught English at my high school and whose poems and Facebook grammar lessons I admire.

Poem quote Joel Toledo Persona

Above is the last line of an older work of his, titled “Persona” (you can find the whole poem here). ❤

If you want to see his latest poems, though, go grab a copy of his latest collection, “Fault Setting”. I’m certainly getting one for myself!