To Our Fallen 44

disappointed. sorry. heartbroken. #Fallen44

sentimentalfreak

Mamasapano_clash_heroes

To our dear policemen who died for their service for the country and the people

Who died to subdue a dangerous man whose explosives may have, one day, burn villages and kill hundreds

Who died fighting an enemy that shouldn’t be.

You have come from different parts of the country, from North to the South

You may have spoken different native languages, raised from different families

You are sons, brothers, fiances, husbands and fathers to those you left behind

But you have fought as one, as valiant sons for our the motherland

You are heroes, in the truest sense of the word

You may never see our tears, our grief, our outrage and demands for justice

We may never know what you lived for

But we will never forget what you died for.

To our fallen 44,

Who lay dying in the fields under the dawning sky

We, the nation…

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Book Review: The Chase and the Catch by A.F. Henley

The Chase and the Catch by A.F. Henley

Blurb

After one of his fans committed suicide, John lost everything: lover, confidence, drive. When he is given a chance to get back on his feet, he is happy to take it—even if it’s just writing an actor’s autobiography. It might not be romance, or even fiction, but it’s something, and there are worse people to work for than the charming, successful Parker Chase.

That doesn’t mean working for Parker is easy, however. A staunch supporter of living for the moment, Parker goes against everything John believes in. He feels out of place in every moment of Parker’s Hollywood life, stuck in a game of wits that at times seems almost contrived…

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AF Henley_The Chase and The Catch CoverMy rating: ★★★★★

My Review (Warning: Spoiler Alert!!):

Mind games. That’s what happens when two broken people collide. This is what The Chase and the Catch by A.F. Henley is all about and more.

One of John Liege’s fans committed suicide, an incident which left John broken, suffused with guilt and despair, unable to move forward. Most days he feels like he was going to lose his mind—it didn’t matter whether he was awake or fast asleep—the incident haunts him. Most people are lucky they didn’t have to be plagued with regret and guilt of having failed to protect a loved one… but John was one of the unlucky ones. Though in John’s case, it was a fan, but it didn’t matter, the effect was the same for him anyway. His guilt was palpable, his heart was broken, there were the endless nightmares, and the endless questions running through his head over and over.

Parker Chase on the other hand, grew up surrounded by people who adored him. But he didn’t even know who he really was, how could these people claim to love him? Well-aware he was surrounded with phonies, Parker became a jaded and a hard person. I don’t even want to start with his issues. Suffice to say his being jaded helped twist his mentality, making him engage in mind games.

John and Parker were both on the defense and offense from the get-go, each refused to be outdone but it was clear they were drawn to each other.

The Chase and the Catch by A.F. Henley is a classic example of hate you love you (HYLY) trope, but what made the story more complicated are the mind games and the characters’ respective mile long issues. And this is where my love for this book begins. For me, what makes a book memorable is when its readers are able to connect with the characters. Then of course there’s the plot, the prose, the dialogue (there were some lines in this book that had me laughing out loud, that, after some scenes made me bawl my eyes out lol). I believe this book has all of the above and will go to my reread list. Definitely.

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Excerpt

Brilliant sunlight shot daggers of pain into John’s eyes and he fumbled for his sunglasses with one hand, blocking with the other, as if, somehow, a single leather-gloved hand would do any good against the assault. Snow had fallen the previous night and everything gleamed with the lustre of freshly polished silver. The parking lot was a postcard-worthy image of pristine white surfaces surrounded by burdened evergreen branches and puff-capped fence posts—the kind of scene that a year prior would have found John dragging out his tablet, inspired into tapping words about flush-cheeked kiddies or curiously joyful rodents. Now the view just made him want to growl about delays and inconveniences.

“Did you call ahead?”

John adjusted his sunglasses, flipped up his collar, and thumbed at the dash of the car. “Yeah. No flight delays. Pop the trunk, will you?” When his sister didn’t react, John tilted his head and sighed. “What?”

She didn’t hesitate, but then Jenna never did. With everyone in his life still treating him like he was going to explode into a million shards of anxiety every time he opened his mouth, Jenna could be counted on to speak when she felt like she needed to. And even the times when she just damn well wanted to. “You don’t have to do this.”

“Actually, no, I really do.” He worked up a smile. “I mean, I could drive, but the weather’s kind of shitty and it would take me something like thirty-five hours.”

“I don’t mean the flying and you know it.” Jenna snagged his jacket when John reached for the door handle. “You don’t have to run off and do this. The writing will come back to you when you’re ready. Since when does a person trade poetry and romance for scribbling down some guy’s autobiography?”

John held up a finger. “Biography. My perspective. An autobiography would be—”

“What the fuck ever. Don’t change the subject. Let’s just say that this does end up being a good thing for your career.” She caught his gaze when he looked up with another smile, and pursed her lips. “It won’t be. But regardless. Why do you have to go down there? Why can’t you do it like a normal twenty-first century human being and use Skype? Or you know, the telephone? Why do you have to be a billion miles away from home? I can’t be the only one who thinks this isn’t the smartest idea you’ve ever come up with. You haven’t exactly been…” She tapped her temple. “Well.”

John rolled his eyes and drew a snort of disgust through his nostrils in the extended, too loud way that he knew drove her crazy.

Jenna’s grip tightened into a fist. “Seriously. I’ve done some research on this guy, John—”

“Really?” John feigned absolute shock. “Me too! Weird…”

“I’m just not sure you’ve thought this all the way through. The guy can be an asshole. Self-centered, pompous—”

He disengaged Jenna’s fingers from his coat, placed her hand on the seat, and patted the back of it. “I’m sure his fans would disagree. As a matter of fact, most of them would have you drawn and quartered for even daring to think such a thing.”

“I couldn’t give a single fuck about any of his fans.” Her fingertips began to play a beat on the vinyl seat. “I care about you. And you already feel bad enough without immersing yourself into the life of a narcissist—”

John whistled through his teeth. “Harsh.”

“Read the blogs.”

John rolled his eyes and snapped the handle of the door. The onslaught of cold air was immediate. A good thing, John decided. It would get him out of the car that much faster if Jenna was shivering like a Chihuahua. “I’ve read the blogs. And I’ve read his Twitter and stalked his Tumblr and, and, and. He’s interesting. There’s a good story hidden behind that damn mask he’s been wearing for the last decade, and I want to be the one to dig it out.”

“You write romance—”

“No.” John drew himself out of the car and then turned back to lock up their eyes. “I write. Plain and simple. Now, please, pop the trunk. Because if I miss this flight due to the fact you’re holding my luggage hostage, I swear to God that I will make you pay for the next one. First class, nonetheless.”

He shut the door with a solid swing and walked to the back of the car to wait for the latch to release. The sound of the trunk popping was almost simultaneous with the clunk of the driver’s door opening.

“You call every day,” Jenna said, rounding the car, the high heels of her boots managing to click soundly even through the layer of snow. “I mean every fucking day.”

John dragged two suitcases out of the car and nodded at the open trunk. “I will. Get that for me, please?”

She ignored the trunk to worry her hands against one another. “And take your medication.”

“I haven’t been on meds for weeks now.” It was somewhat of a lie, but John soothed himself with the thought that the statement was mostly true. He still took the sleeping pills, but the antidepressants were gone. Thank fuck.

“By doctor’s orders or your own?” Jenna’s glare was colder than the wind.

John leaned forward, kissed Jenna on the cheek, and turned towards the glass doors of the airport. “Be good, Jen. And get back in the car before you freeze to death. Mom would kill you if she saw you out here in that jacket.”

“I can park,” Jenna called. “Come in and sit with you?”

“No time.” He kicked the silver disc that would operate the automatic door. “Flight’s probably already boarding.” He slipped through the half-open door. “Drive safe.”

“And what do I do if Sam calls?”

John bit back the reaction to tell Jenna she could invent new ways to penetrate the man with large, unforgiving objects, and pass them on to Sam in graphic detail. Instead: “He won’t.”

“But if he does?”

“He won’t.”

She was still standing beside the open trunk when he turned to walk away. She was worried. They all were: his agent, his parents, and his friends; her husband Mark, and probably both their terriers and their entire tank of fish. Not that he could blame them. It hadn’t been a good year. He’d always been able to use his writing to get him away from his problems, a retreat of sorts, where he could work things out in his head before having to deal with them. So when the words had abandoned him, be it in retaliation for the pills he’d taken too frequently, or because his brain was too busy focusing on the images of horror that kept playing through it, John had thought he was going to lose his mind.

Confusion had become depression. Panic escalated into obsessive-compulsive behaviour. He was no longer ‘that crazy writer.’ He was just fucking crazy.

“But this is writing,” John mumbled, staring at the flight board and trying to make his eyes focus on the words that would tell him where to go. “It’s still writing.” After all, what biography wasn’t spiced a bit here and there? Perspective was everything. And if Mr. Parker Chase—actor-extraordinaire, supposed-charmer, but potentially more-of-an-egotistical-dick-than-his-agent-would-like-anyone-to-know—was willing to let John be the one to offer that perspective, then it didn’t matter that the story wasn’t fiction. Or romance. Or even working its way towards a happy ending. He could live with the compromise just to be at it again.

For the time being, at least.

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Copyright © 2014 by A.F. Henley
Published by Less Than Three Press
51,000 words
Gay Contemporary Romance

Purchasing Link: @Less Than Three Press
@Amazon

Please note: Novel contains some explicit content.

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About the Author:

AF Henley_Avatar croppedHenley was born with a full-blown passion for run-on sentences, a zealous indulgence in all words descriptive, and the endearing tendency to overuse punctuation. Since the early years Henley has been an enthusiastic writer, from the first few I-love-my-dog stories to the current leap into erotica.

A self-professed Google genius, Henley lives for the hours spent digging through the Internet for ‘research purposes’ which, more often than not, lead seven thousand miles away from first intentions but bring Henley to new discoveries and ideas that, once seeded, tend to flourish.

Henley has been proudly working with LT3 since 2012, and has been writing like mad ever since—an indentured servant to the belief that romance and true love can mend the most broken soul. Even when presented in prose.

Find more here:
Website: http://afhenley.com/
Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/A.-F.-Henley/e/B00FIODWSK/
Publisher’s Page: http://www.lessthanthreepress.com/author-a-f-henley/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AFHenley
Twitter: http://twitter.com/AFHenley

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Writer in Me by Ines Bautista-Yao

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I’ve been writing stories ever since I was a kid. I never left the house without a notebook and a pen. And I would choose those notebooks and pens carefully too. They had to have the right feel and the right look. If not, I told myself, the stories wouldn’t flow (weird, I know). Then I graduated to my typewriter, which I loved but now can’t imagine using anymore. And finally, my laptop (and I’m still particular about how the keys feel – apparently, writing is very tactile for me).

Ever since, whenever I would write a story, I’d turn to a blank sheet or blank document (provided everything else was just right) and write. I’d wait for inspiration to hit at that very moment. I wouldn’t plan anything in advance. Whenever I did, I felt like I lost motivation. And I wasn’t just taking the fun out of it, I was taking the magic out as well.

This all sounds so strange, but it’s true—at least in my head. Whenever I write, I feel as if there’s so much more going on. The ideas do come from my mind and my emotions, even bits and pieces of my life and the lives of those I know, but somehow, something else takes over as well. I get ideas I never even considered before. I have insights into my characters that I never planned. And I worry that if I outline or plot it out in advance, I will not just lose all this magic, but my stories will be dry and boring as well.

I love writing this way even if it’s quite scary. I’ve actually thrown away pages and pages of work because the story just doesn’t feel right or I don’t want to continue anymore or I can’t stand my main character! Haha! But at the same time, while writing this way, I feel like I’m experiencing everything for the first time and it’s a high that’s unlike any other. It’s as if I’m reading a book or watching a movie unfold but I have some semblance of control over it! Some.

Writing Only A Kiss

With Only A Kiss, I did the same thing. When I began writing it, I had no idea what I was doing. I just typed in the title: Only A Kiss (inspired by The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside”), then typed in Katie’s name and a few seconds later, Chris materialized as well.

I only figured out later on how Katie was going to get her first kiss. And believe me, I was pressured because it was the first line in the story! So there was no backing out. It had to come from Chris and she had to make him give it to her!

When I ended that story/chapter, I was so excited to start the next one. It was so easy to write in chunks and not in one long drawn-out book! I knew I wanted them to end up together and I wanted Katie’s déjå vu moment to happen, but I didn’t know how I was going to get them there. Also, I felt incredibly pressured to finish before I gave birth (I was pregnant with my second child), so I really committed myself to meeting all my self-imposed deadlines.

Do you want to be a writer?

Writing is a skill. And just like any other skill, you can’t be awesome at it overnight. You need to practice. You need to put in the hours. You need to train your brain to string the proper words together. You need to be open to learning new things and improving your craft. You can only get better with practice and time. And really, when you write, you want to create something you’re proud of, something you know you put your best into (though this can be hard because whenever I read something I’ve written that’s been edited already, I still want to change how some sentences are worded). Writing can be lonely, painful, and draining. But it can also be fulfilling, thrilling, and intoxicating. Whenever anyone tells me they want to write, I tell them to just do it. And keep doing it. And keep doing it.

That’s what I plan to do anyway. 🙂

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About Only a Kiss:

Title: Only a Kiss
Author: Ines Bautista-Yao
Publisher: Chamber Shell Publishing
Date of Publication: November 29, 2014
Genre: contemporary romance

Here in the Philippines, Only A Kiss paperback is now available at the National Book Store and Fully Booked.

Blurb:

When she was nine-years-old, Katie knew she wanted Chris to give her her first kiss. It wasn’t because she was in love with him (no way, he was her best friend! Besides, she was in love with his fourteen-year-old big brother), it was because she could make him do anything she wanted.

Besides, it didn’t really mean anything. It was only a kiss after all.

But then things started to change. They grew up. They parted ways and went to different high schools. And other girls and boys—well, just one particular boy—came into the picture, throwing their lives upside down.

Told from the alternating points of view of Katie and Chris, this love story between two best friends will tug at your heartstrings and leave you thinking how the simplest things can mean so much.

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23705867-only-a-kiss

Purchase links: Amazon | Buqo.ph
The book is on sale for ONLY $0.99 until February 14, 2015.

About Ines Bautista-Yao

Ines Bautista-Yao is the author of One Crazy Summer, What’s in your Heart, and Only a Kiss. She has also written two short stories, “Flashbacks and Echoes,” which is part of a compilation called All This Wanting and “A Captured Dream,” one of the four short stories in Sola Musica: Love Notes from a Festival.

She is the former editor-in-chief of Candy and K-Zone magazines and a former high school and college English and Literature teacher. She is also a wife and mom and blogs about the many challenges and joys of motherhood at theeverydayprojectblog.com. She has recently launched The Author Project, a section in her current blog devoted to the stories in her head: http://theeverydayprojectblog.com/inesbyao-author-project/

She posts on Instagram and tweets @inesbyao and her author page is facebook.com/inesbautistayao.

Bloghttp://theeverydayprojectblog.com/inesbyao-author-project/
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/inesbyao
Instagramhttp://instagram.com/inesbyao
Facebookhttp://facebook.com/inesbautistayao
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5359512.Ines_Bautista_Yao

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Giveaway Time! ❤

Ines is giving away lots of things!

For Philippine residents:

One (1) winner will get a signed paperback of ONLY A KISS, a gift card from FILA, and a back issue of CAST comic book

Two (2) winners will each get a signed paperback of ONLY A KISS, light up laces, and back issue of CAST comic book

For everyone:

Five (5) winners will each get an ebook of ONLY A KISS

Here’s the link to the rafflecopter: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/dc42906e257/?

Giveaway ends on the 23rd of January. Good luck! ❤

Excerpt and Giveaway: Only a Kiss by Ines Bautista-Yao

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Book and author details:

Title: Only A Kiss
Author: Ines Bautista-Yao
Publisher: Chamber Shell Publishing
Date of Publication: November 29, 2014
Genre: contemporary romance

Here in the Philippines, Only A Kiss paperback is now available at the National Book Store and Fully Booked.

Blurb:

When she was nine-years-old, Katie knew she wanted Chris to give her her first kiss. It wasn’t because she was in love with him (no way, he was her best friend! Besides, she was in love with his fourteen-year-old big brother), it was because she could make him do anything she wanted.

Besides, it didn’t really mean anything. It was only a kiss after all.

But then things started to change. They grew up. They parted ways and went to different high schools. And other girls and boys—well, just one particular boy—came into the picture, throwing their lives upside down.

Told from the alternating points of view of Katie and Chris, this love story between two best friends will tug at your heartstrings and leave you thinking how the simplest things can mean so much.

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23705867-only-a-kiss

Purchase links: Amazon | Buqo.ph
The book is on sale for ONLY $0.99 until February 14, 2015.

About Ines Bautista-Yao

Ines Bautista-Yao is the author of One Crazy Summer, What’s in your Heart, and Only a Kiss. She has also written two short stories, “Flashbacks and Echoes,” which is part of a compilation called All This Wanting and “A Captured Dream,” one of the four short stories in Sola Musica: Love Notes from a Festival.

She is the former editor-in-chief of Candy and K-Zone magazines and a former high school and college English and Literature teacher. She is also a wife and mom and blogs about the many challenges and joys of motherhood at theeverydayprojectblog.com. She has recently launched The Author Project, a section in her current blog devoted to the stories in her head: http://theeverydayprojectblog.com/inesbyao-author-project/

She posts on Instagram and tweets @inesbyao and her author page is facebook.com/inesbautistayao.

Bloghttp://theeverydayprojectblog.com/inesbyao-author-project/
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/inesbyao
Instagramhttp://instagram.com/inesbyao
Facebookhttp://facebook.com/inesbautistayao
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5359512.Ines_Bautista_Yao

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Excerpt from LIKE NOBODY ELSE

Katie took a deep breath, touched up her makeup, and stepped out of the stall. She had to see Chris sooner or later. Even if she had no idea how she felt about him anymore. But then again, what did she expect? It wasn’t as if he was still her best friend. Feeling like she had lost something (her mind, maybe?), she swiped on some lipstick and decided it was time to face the music. No matter what song was playing. Jho-sigstylediv
Giveaway Time! ❤

Ines is giving away lots of things!

For Philippine residents:

One (1) winner will get a signed paperback of ONLY A KISS, a gift card from FILA, and a back issue of CAST comic book

Two (2) winners will each get a signed paperback of ONLY A KISS, light up laces, and back issue of CAST comic book

For everyone:

Five (5) winners will each get an ebook of ONLY A KISS

Here’s the link to the rafflecopter: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/dc42906e257/?

Giveaway ends on the 23rd of January. Good luck! ❤