A Friend in Need

JessicaHey, guys! My friend, author Jessica Larsen, is currently in need of financial help. She was deported from Norway last year and because of this, she and her husband had to move to Spain. As a result, my friends lost their business—their source of livelihood—and now they’re in a financial bind, prompting them to raise funds online.

Jess and Einar along with their kid, Orion, are currently in Sweden so they could be nearer to Norway where Einar’s 97-year-old mom resides. This way, it would be easier for Einar to visit his mom and he could follow up Jess’s papers. Currently they are living with a Filipina and her husband in Sweden in exchange with Einar assisting said Filipina’s husband at work. But they have to come back to Spain this coming September once Jess’s travel paper expires and the thing is that they have no place to live. They lived in their car for a time before this because they are unable to afford rent. In addition to food and a place to stay, they also wish to bring Einar’s mom to Sweden because she has yet to see her nine-month-old grandson. 20170227_151916

Thank you for reading this blog post, guys. Jessica and Einar are good people simply hit by hard times. Jess is a sweet friend, always sending me books and cards. She also sent my sister, Ate Mae, a letter and a card to encourage her to undergo an operation. On top of that, she’s someone who’s always willing to listen to other people’s troubles and help in every way she can. In fact, she’s helped me in so many ways in the past and although she’s not expecting for anything in return, I’d really like to help them in my own way as well.

To help them out and to know more about their story, click here. If you’d rather send your help via PayPal, you may do so here.

Thank you, again. May your help return to you in tenfold.

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Book Review: My Boyfriend’s Back by Elliot Cooper

My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 out of 5 stars

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

I enjoyed reading My Boyfriend’s Back very much.

I must admit I didn’t read the blurb before reading this book because, hey, it’s Elliot Cooper, I love him! Needless to say I was surprised when I started reading. Not only is it a story I didn’t expect, it was both dark and tragic as well.

The problem is, I don’t like it when main characters die and a few pages into the story I kind of got where it was going. I almost stopped reading because, well, I hate tragic stories but I’ve read two of Elliot Cooper’s works before and he’s always created something new and magical out of something old and somehow I knew he would do the same thing with this book. Didn’t stop me from getting horrified when Dax died though. Few pages in and I already loved the guy, that’s how powerful this writer’s writing is, he managed to make me care for the love interest in the span of a few paragraphs.

Anyway, I’m glad I pressed on even if some scenes horrified me tremendously. Lol. It is fast-paced as well so the reader need not worry about getting bored.

Five stars from me; I therefore recommend My Boyfriend’s Back .

Happy reading!

View all my reviews

About the Book

After losing both of his parents, Academy of Magecraft student Steven Durant doesn’t want to see anyone else lose a loved one before their time. Traditional resurrection methods, however, only create mindless, flesh-hungry zombies; they’re no cure for death. He’s certain his unique brand of necromancy—using alchemy and blood magic—is the only answer.

When his boyfriend, Dax Everhart, has a fatal accident, Steven sees no choice but to use his experimental Lazarus Elixir. Dax comes back wrong, but the more humans he consumes, the more human he becomes.

With the help of his best friends, his ghostly aunt, and her living doll homunculus, Steven fights to regain normalcy and repair his shattered relationship with Dax. But with Dax openly embracing his monstrous nature, Steven shoulders the guilt of assisting in a murder spree that could lead the mundane and magical police right to their door.

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About the Author

Elliot Cooper writes speculative fiction featuring queer characters. His novels and novellas come with hopeful and happy endings, though his short fiction runs the gamut of styles and genres. He strives above all to make his readers feel, while also increasing positive representation of LGBTQ characters and their stories.

Website

http://www.elliotcooperwrites.com

Twitter

Guest Post and Giveaway: Keep the Faith by Ana Tejano

ktf-blog-tour-header

Before marketing your book

When I finally decided to publish my book independently, I was told that going indie means we also had to work on the marketing. I knew it was going to be hard work, but I figured, hey why not? It should be fun, right?

A year after I published my first book, I took up a digital marketing certification course, which gave me a better perspective with regards to marketing. I never really had proper marketing training, even if I worked in the field so the course was eye-opening for me, and it helped me think of how I could use these lessons as an author.

So now that I’ve made myself credible (haha) – yay, you published your book! Now you want people – who are not your friends – to know about it. But before you start creating Facebook posts or tweeting up a storm on Twitter or adding all the #hashtags to your Instagram posts, here are some things that an author has to be very clear on first before jumping into everything:

Remember your WHY. Why do you write? Why do you want people to read your book? Your why will anchor all your writing and marketing efforts, so make sure you keep this in mind when you’re about to go out to the world with your book. People will buy and read your book because they believe what you believe. Or, they’re curious about why you believe what you believe. Knowing your why will also ground you, and help you to focus again when things don’t go your way.

Set your objectives and goals. And by this, it has to be something specific and measurable, and again, anchored to your why. Putting numbers on them will make it less lofty and will help you figure out how to reach it. For example – when I decided to put together this blog tour, my objective was to gain more reviews and create buzz for my book, and my goal is to have at least 20 bloggers to join. With those numbers clear in my head, it was easier to figure out what to post and when to post.

Understand your reader. Knowing your reader helps you to know how to reach them. While it’s tempting to say that your target market is “all readers,” remember that not everyone will like your book. Knowing your readers will help you know how to talk to them, find out where they are and then position yourself so they will be most receptive to your message. Knowing your reader is just like building characters: find out what they like, where they work, what are their online habits, what other books do they like to read? Once you have a pretty good idea of who your readers are – or who you want them to be – then it’ll be easier to strategize with your marketing.

Just like in writing, marketing your books can be a bit frustrating – but being hands-on with is a great learning experience. And just like in writing, don’t forget to have fun with it, too! Good luck, and happy marketing your book!

Jho-sigstylediv

Book Title: Keep the Faith

Release Date: July 31, 2016

Author: Ana Tejano

About the Book:

As a community development worker, Faith was quite familiar with heartbreak and recovery after all the time she spent on disaster relief missions. So when her five-year relationship ends right before she left for a mission trip to a typhoon-stricken town in Iloilo, she tries not to make a big deal out of it. How can she be broken up about a breakup when she’s with people who literally lost everything?

But now that she’s back, all Faith wants is for her life to go back to normal and have people stop looking at her with pity. Never mind that she still has a lot of questions about the breakup, or that she feels a tiny ache every time her ex comes up in conversations. She’s okay now, and happily distracted by Nico Tamayo, the attractive new guy at work.

With new possibilities in the horizon, Faith thinks she is well on her way to moving on. But when her past comes calling back to her, will all the good things in her present be enough to keep her on the path? Or will she finally learn that there was more to heartbreak and recovery than what she knows?

Links to Purchase:

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About the Author:

Ana Tejano has been in love with words and writing ever since she met Elizabeth Wakefield when she was in Grade 3. She has contributed several non-fiction pieces in print and online publications, and has been blogging for years. When she’s not writing, she works as a communications manager for a payroll outsourcing firm, and serves in CFC Singles for Christ in every other time that she doesn’t spend reading or sleeping. She lives in Metro Manila and is also known by another name in her other circles (but it’s not a secret identity, really).

Contact Links:

ENTER RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY HERE:

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Excerpt #1:

“Hi.”

I froze at the sound of that now all-too-familiar deep voice—now less sleepy—and my panic gave way to anger. I turned around slowly.

Nico’s expression was friendly, oblivious to my seething. “I just want to say sorry for sleeping on your desk. Alvin told me you were coming back but I thought it wasn’t until Monday so I didn’t transfer immediately.”

“Did you touch anything here?” I pointed to my cubicle’s walls, ignoring his apology.

“Huh?”

“You’ve been using my desk since you got here. Did you remove anything?”

He shook his head, his messy hair flopping on his forehead. He brushed it away with a hand. “No. Why would I remove anything? I only sleep at other people’s desks, but I don’t take anything.” He gave me a cheeky grin at the last part, an attempt to make a joke, but I was too worked up to play along.

“Then what happened to my pictures, huh?”

ktf-quote-02“What pictures?”

I felt a light tap on my shoulder. I turned, and there was April, holding out a small paper bag. “Hey. I almost forgot to give you this.”

“April, do you know—”

“I heard you. They’re in the bag,” she interrupted gently. “I took your pictures down, okay? It’s not Nico’s fault. He didn’t even see them.”

I took the bag from her and peeked inside, and found the smiling face of my ex-boyfriend looking at me, beside my own. I was unprepared for the stab of pain when I saw our matching grins, remembering exactly when that photo was taken (second year anniversary, right after he took me out to dinner).

“I thought it would help if I cleaned it up when you told me what happened. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you.” She squeezed my arm, and left to answer her phone that started ringing again.

Squashing the urge to sort through the photos and memories, I shoved the paper bag in my bottom drawer, shutting the drawer with a loud click. When I looked up, I saw that Nico was gazing at me intently, and my face burned with shame again. Twice now. I can’t seem to get off on the right foot with this guy.

“I told you I didn’t know about anything,” he said, amused.

Well thanks a lot for rubbing it in. “If you hadn’t been sleeping on my desk then I wouldn’t have asked you.”

“Didn’t you learn much from what you saw on my profile?”

“I wasn’t stalking you!”

A small line formed between his eyebrows as if I was a Math problem that he was trying to solve. I tried to stare back at him but his brown eyes were too intense. Then to my surprise—and frustration—I saw the beginnings of a smirk tug at the corner of his lips.

“Aren’t you going to say something?” I crossed my arms.

Then his lips stretched into a full-fledged smile, a dimple popping on his right cheek. “I’m sorry. I promise I won’t sleep on your desk again.”

“Good,” I said with a firm nod. Then I started to feel a little silly for my outburst, especially after he seemed so gracious. “I’m sorry, too.”

“Peace?” he asked, extending his right hand to me. I uncrossed my arms and looked at his hand warily before glancing up at him again. He was still smiling.

“Okay,” I said, just a little begrudgingly, and reached out to shake his hand.

“My name is Nicolas, but everyone calls me Nico.”

“Hi, Nico,” I said, trying not to think of how warm his hand was. “I’m Faith. Faith Alvarez.” I let go of his hand. Too much hand-shaking was weird.

There was that dimple again. “I know.”

Guest Post by Harvey Lincoln, Author of 33 Ermine Street

On Writing 33 Ermine Street 

When I first started writing ’33 Ermine Street’ I intended to not only develop a strong storyline, but to create a central theme and develop the characters around it. In practice this meant spending the first six months doing nothing else other than sticking post-it notes against a cupboard door. Each note contained little parts of the story, character ideas and settings etc. When I felt I finally had what I wanted I started to type up small and very rough parts of the story, alongside doing quite a bit of background research to fill in any contextual gaps. In the end this process resulted in a 60-page outline of what was going to be the novel ’33 Ermine Street’.

I guess it sounds like a very methodical approach to writing, and I’m sure many writers would choose a very different approach to mine. My background as a designer was probably the reason behind this. People often think that being a designer is all about coming up with the most amazing ideas together with other free spirited designers. Well, it’s not really (sorry). It’s fun but it’s also hard work. Hard work that starts with research, endless sketching and keeping focused on the result you were aiming for all that time.

It was these skills that mostly helped me out with writing the novel. But there were more needed to complete it. I discovered how difficult it was to describe a scene the way I had it in my mind. In that sense, sketching it out is a lot easier. Words form an endless array of variables that you need to keep tuning until you get what you want. That was by far the hardest thing I learned.

Another thing I noticed, was how attached you get to the characters. Shen with his strong will, Alfred – the grumpy old man from down the road, and Sandeep – the local shopkeeper who was always ready to offer his advice. Although the characters are entirely fictional, they have all become dear friends of mine.

I truly hope that some of you will get to know them too. And when you do I hope you enjoy reading ’33 Ermine Street’ as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

Jho-sigstylediv

About the Book

“Religion is a human invention – love isn’t. It lives inside every person, no matter who they are, or what they do or do not believe in. Love is the only thing a person truly needs to believe in to receive love in return.”

Being an only child growing up in a Chinese immigrant family, Shen lives a relatively quiet and sheltered life in comparison to most other British teenagers. His parents, who ended up running a small Chinese restaurant, work tirelessly to make sure their only child is given the opportunities that they missed out on in life.

It’s a day like any other, when Shen becomes witness to a traumatic incident on his usual route to school. From that moment on, his peaceful and uneventful teenage life takes a drastic turn as he struggles to cope with the grim memories of that fateful morning.

Shen embarks on a very personal journey in an attempt to understand what happened. In the weeks and months that follow, he finds himself hurled into a turbulent world driven by fear, prejudice and social injustice.

33 Ermine Street is a touching yet confronting novel, set against the backdrop of a heavily polarized Britain.

Purchase Link:

amazon UK

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http://www.33erminestreet.com

About the Author

Harvey Lincoln was born and raised in the south of The Netherlands. He lived there for many years before moving to the UK in 2002 where he studied for both a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Graphic Design. He has since returned to The Netherlands where he lives together with his English wife.
33 Ermine Street is his first novel.

José Rizal, a Renaissance Man

Source: Wikipedia

So… yesterday was José Rizal’s birth anniversary, June 19. I knew, kinda. My friend at Pinoy Reads Pinoy Books (PRPB) even held a draw of this Pinoy book in celebration of Rizal’s birthday and I won, and still it hasn’t sunk in until I saw the daily quote in Goodreads featuring Rizal’s. Yes, I can be that dense.

In any case, Rizal’s birthday is not something Pinoys forget in the first place. I’ve been an admirer of Rizal since I was a kid, and I mean long before I can even read. My earliest memory of him was of my grandmother telling me about the things he did for the country. I was two.

Rizal was a polymath, a renaissance man. He was this guy who wrote and published poems, essays, novels, plays. I saw some of his paintings, sketches, sculptures, and woodcarvings in I think at least two museums in Manila otherwise I wouldn’t have been this impressed in his skills in art.

Because. He had serious skills and I believe he could have made a living being a sculptor or a painter like Juan Luna or Félix Resurrección Hidalgo had he not been too busy being an ophthalmologist, writing, learning other languages, curing himself of tuberculosis, discovering species (subsequently named after him), traveling, saving the country, inciting a revolution, and breaking the ladies’ hearts from each and every country he visited.

In addition, José Rizal was a Master Mason, an educator, farmer, historian, playwright, and journalist who dabbled, with varying degrees of expertise, in architecture, cartography, economics, ethnology, anthropology, sociology, dramatics, martial arts, fencing, and pistol shooting (Source: wikipedia).

He said in 1888:

“Man is multiplied by the number of languages he possesses and speaks.”

A large replica of Rizal’s The Triumph of Science over Death, also known as Scientia. The original work is a clay sculpture made by José Rizal as a gift to his friend Ferdinand Blumentritt.

Location: in front of Fernando Calderón Hall of the University of the Philippines College of Medicine

Photo source: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/f6/44/08/f64408e5f702174711ca3e4fbe9e19da.jpg

credits to the owner of the photo.

A polyglot, Rizal was said to be conversant in as many as twenty two languages, namely: Spanish, French, Latin, Greek, German, Portuguese, Italian, English, Dutch, Japanese, Arabic, Swedish, Russian, Chinese, Greek, Hebrew and Sanskrit; and the local languages Malay, Chavacano, Visayan, Ilocano and Subanun. Why Tagalog/Filipino was not included in the list, I do not know. Having been born and raised in Calamba, it’s got to be the first language he learned alongside Spanish.

Rizal wanted to be a lawyer, but because his mother was going blind, he switched to medicine (ophthalmology) and proceeded to perform a successful eye operation on his mother.

It was not surprising that he wanted to be a lawyer though. He wanted to fight for the rights of the Filipino people after all, and he did. In his own way he showed that the Filipinos deserve to learn, that our people have the capability, by being exemplary himself, at the cost of his own life.

At the age of 35, Rizal was executed by firing squad on December 30, 1896 at Bagumbayan, in Manila.

With that said, I want to end this post by enumerating some of Rizal’s quotes from his works that I love. The first two in the list never fail to bring tears to my eyes because of the painful truth it represents.

  • “Ang bayan po’y di dumaraing dahil siya’y pipi, di tumitinang dahil natutulog. Subali’t darating ang panahong malalantad ito sa inyo atmapapakinggan ang kanyang mga panaghoy. Pagsapit ng araw na ito,… sasambulat sa lahat ng dako ang mga naipongluha; himutok at buntong-hiningang matagal na panahong kinimkim sa puso ng bayan.” – Pilosopo Tasyo (kab. 25)

         English translation: “The people do not complain because they have no voice; do not move because   they are lethargic, and you say that they do not suffer because you have not seen their hearts bleed.” ― Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not)

  • “Mamatay akong hindi man lang masisilayan ang pagbubukang liwayway, kayong makakakita, batiin n’yo s’ya at wag kalimutan ang mga nabulid sa gitna ng dilim.” – Elias (kab. 63)

         English translation: “I die without seeing the dawn brighten over my native land. You who have it to see, welcome it … and forget not those who have fallen during the night!”

  • “On this battlefield man has no better weapon than his intelligence, no other force but his heart.”
  • “One only dies once, and if one does not die well, a good opportunity is lost and will not present itself again.”
  • “Tingnan mo ang mahinang tangkay na iyan. Siya’y yumuyuko kapag umiihip ang hangin na parang ikinakanlong ang sarili. Sapagkat kung siya’y magpapakatigas sa tayo, mababakli siya at malalagas ang kanyang mga talulot.  Kaya pararaanin  niya ang hangin sika siya muling tutuwid na taglay ang kanyang mga talulot. ” – Pilosopo Tasyo (Kab. 25)
  • ” … Ang karunungan ay para sa tao, ngunit huwag mong lilimuting iya’y natatamo ng mga may puso lamang.” – Gurong Pari (kab. 8)
  • “He who does not know how to look back at where he came from will never get to his destination.”

Want to know more about Rizal? Click the links below:

25 Amazing Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Jose Rizal

José Rizal