Guest Post: My Writing Process for Better At Weddings Than You by Mina V. Esguerra

The thing about writing and how I do it: It changes, depending on what I happen to be doing, and where I am in my life at the time. I’ve written about my writing process before and I should preface this with how it’s probably going to change, again, once I have more or less time. In writing my new book Better At Weddings Than You, here’s what I did:

  • I outlined. I’m a fan of this method, because it keeps me focused! Sitting down to plan out a story’s major events doesn’t just give me a guide to help me write, but it solves many of the problems I’d encounter before I start.
  • I researched. Often I approach a story with a perspective I’m familiar with, but I also challenge myself to write about things that are interesting but not necessarily in my life. So this requires research, meeting real people who do whatever it is, visiting certain places.
  • I set a schedule and target word count. As I was writing this book, I was also involved in more reader community events that had to be scheduled on a weekend—which meant I couldn’t write on weekends anymore. So I adjusted my schedule and tried to set aside an hour every weekday, and when I did write, I sprinted. 1,000 words if I could. I wasn’t always successful, but the days when I did made up for it!
  • I wrote everything, even when it looked meh, and edited later. When stuck, I trained myself to just write whatever was coming to me, even if I didn’t like how it looked on the page. I know by now that I can’t expect consistently good stuff on a strict schedule—writing for me is warming up, and sometimes writing a bunch of crap first. Editing will and has fixed it later.
  • I promised myself I’d celebrate. Reaching “The End” is tough, so I motivate myself with treats. It also helps me determine an actual end, otherwise I’ll be putting it off and revising for too long.

Book description

Daphne Cardenas is the best wedding planner around, and everyone knows it. That’s why her friend Greg hired her as an emergency replacement one month before his wedding—because he fears his fiancée Helen is falling for the guy they first hired for the job.

Aaron Trinidad is new to the wedding industry but years of conference planning and loads of charm make him good at it. Really good at it. Planning the wedding of his friend Helen should be easy, and it is. To be unceremoniously fired isn’t good for his new career, but the chance to learn from the best might be the silver lining.

Aaron and Daphne have chemistry, but there’s history with Helen that at least one other person considers a threat. Who’s the planner who can fix this impending disaster?

(Part of the Chic Manila series, but can be read as a standalone.)

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Buy on Amazon: bit.ly/chicmanila9
$1.99 pre-order price until April 30
$2.99 starting May 1
Free on Kindle Unlimited
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AUTHOR BIO

Mina V. Esguerra writes contemporary romance and young adult novellas. She has a bachelor’s degree in Communication and a master’s degree in Development Communication, put to good use in her work as trainer and content management consultant. Mina lives in Metro Manila, Philippines, with her husband and daughter.

She finds inspiration in the lives and experiences of other people, so the answer to “Is this story based on you?” is always, always “No.”

AUTHOR LINKS

minavesguerra.com

twitter.com/minavesguerra

facebook.com/minavesguerra

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3014313.Mina_V_Esguerra

Cover Reveal: Better At Weddings Than You by Mina V. Esguerra

Book description

Daphne Cardenas is the best wedding planner around, and everyone knows it. That’s why her friend Greg hired her as an emergency replacement one month before his wedding—because he fears his fiancée Helen is falling for the guy they first hired for the job.

Aaron Trinidad is new to the wedding industry but years of conference planning and loads of charm make him good at it. Really good at it. Planning the wedding of his friend Helen should be easy, and it is. To be unceremoniously fired isn’t good for his new career, but the chance to learn from the best might be the silver lining.

Aaron and Daphne have chemistry, but there’s history with Helen that at least one other person considers a threat. Who’s the planner who can fix this impending disaster?

(Part of the Chic Manila series, but can be read as a standalone.)

better3

Buy on Amazon: bit.ly/chicmanila9
$1.99 pre-order price until April 30
$2.99 starting May 1
Free on Kindle Unlimited

 

  Goodreadsbadge
better2
 Jho-sigstylediv

AUTHOR BIO

Mina V. Esguerra writes contemporary romance and young adult novellas. She has a bachelor’s degree in Communication and a master’s degree in Development Communication, put to good use in her work as trainer and content management consultant. Mina lives in Metro Manila, Philippines, with her husband and daughter.

She finds inspiration in the lives and experiences of other people, so the answer to “Is this story based on you?” is always, always “No.”

AUTHOR LINKS

minavesguerra.com

twitter.com/minavesguerra

facebook.com/minavesguerra

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3014313.Mina_V_Esguerra

Crowdfunding & book reading for medical expenses among others

I am crowdfunding for my sister Ate Mae’s medical expenses and for the funding of a small business. She’s scheduled for a thyroid operation this October 22 at the PGH and after that, we’d love to put up a small eatery.

Ate Mae works at a hardware store (I, on the other hand, am a freelance writer) but for the longest time we’ve been wanting to put up our own business. As fate would have it, with another cousin. Our first cousin Nikki had to resign from her call center work due to—guess what? Goiter, like Ate (apparently this runs in the family as my brother had surgery years back for the same reason).

Goiter makes swallowing and speaking difficult which is why Nikki, or Neneng as we fondly call her, had to resign from work. She’s currently undergoing her own series of checkups.

Anyway, we wanted to give back also and that is why my friend—author Joanne Crisner—and I, did book reading last Sunday, Sept 18, 2016 at Ramon Magsaysay Elementary School’s select first and second grade pupils.

Before the book reading, there was a brief lesson where the pupils were divided into groups. Three kids were assigned to us and I watched as Jo taught them how to read the alphabet plus a few words (sorry, I’m not much of a teacher). It was fun, watching the children as they learn.

The volunteers who teach the kids are members of SFC Cornerstone. They tutor the kids tirelessly every Sunday without fail. If that is not kindness, passion, and dedication I don’t know what that is.

After the lesson, Jo read the book out loud to the kids then we distributed copies, we shared a meal, closed the day the way we started: with a prayer and then went on our separate ways. Another day over but the joy will forever remain in my heart.

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My sincere thanks to my friend Jo, everyone in SFC Cornerstone, friends and cousins who helped us including those who sponsored books for the kids, my nephew Jonrae who helped me bring the books, and the kiddies for listening to our story! 🙂

We have yet to hit the target so I am sharing my crowdfunding link in case there are readers out there who can help us. ❤

http://bit.ly/2d9Vcbr

We’ll be at Virlanie this coming Friday for another book reading, this time with children’s author Athena Austria.

Thank you for reading this blog entry! 🙂

Blog Tour: What About Today by Dawn Lanuza ~ Guest Post

Writing Habits that I Picked Up from Writing What About Today

What About Today is my second novella. It’s one of the products of Mina V. Esquerra’s class, #BuqoYA. We were given five weeks to finish our stories then, and I was able to finish on time (with a little bit to spare!).

As I was determined to finished a story for the class, I picked up a couple of writing habits that I still find handy with writing my next novels.

  1. Setting a clear deadline. Because we were in a class, we were given a clear deadline. When I was writing my first book, The Boyfriend Backtrack, I gave myself a deadline, but it was a bit loose, so naturally, I moved it around for a couple of weeks. I still struggle with this, honestly, but I think it really helps if you check your progress every once in a while and really circle a date in your calendar. Toughening it up with the deadline helps get the job done.
  2. Assigning Pegs. I found pegs very useful while writing WAT because I was writing in third person but was switching POVs. I didn’t want the characters to sound like the same person, so I’ve learned to watch videos of my pegs. From there, I get to pick up some of their habits and quirks, and this ultimately helped me get back to the groove and vibe of the character and the story.
  3. Having a writing routine/schedule. There are a couple of articles online that collated writers’ routines and rituals. When I was writing WAT, I pushed myself to write something every night (after dinner), even if I wasn’t feeling it. I’d get myself to write even a couple of sentences/ paragraphs, sometimes I’ll just let my characters talk. This helped me keep my momentum.
  4. Writing with the end in mind. I wrote the ending of this story while I was still in the middle of it. I’m not much of an outliner, I’m more of a pantser, but I think when you already know what kind of ending you want to have for your story, it’s easier to fill in everything else.
  5. Writing drunk, editing sober (that’s Hemingway, but internet says it’s not). I think it’s great that when you start, you get so drunk on your story that you just write it. You don’t think about the details so much, you just write, write, write. But once you’re ready to take a look at it with a different eye – right before you send it out to your beta readers/ editors, it’s better that you condition yourself to not get too attached to the material. There will be scrapping involved, there always is especially from a first draft, so I suck it up and stick with the bits that work, and get rid of what doesn’t.

And that’s it! I hope to you find at least one of these tips work for you- but if not, just experiment. It’s what I did, and am still doing. It also really helps to have a community aka a support group when you write, just so you don’t drive yourself mad in the whole process. Writing is a never ending learning experience and I think as long as you’re having fun with it, then it’s worth your time. 🙂

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About the Book

Aiden’s stuck working for his family’s amusement park, Funtastic World, for the whole summer. Nothing amuses him, until he met this terrified girl.

Gemma’s stuck in Funtastic World thinking she could handle the park’s rides. She couldn’t. Good thing she met someone to guide her.

As the day comes to a close, Aiden and Gemma ask themselves if one day is ever enough to decide if they were better off as friends or strangers.

* This story is currently available on BuqoYA Bundle 4: Heart Choices.

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Purchase Links

Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | Buqo | Smashwords

Excerpt

Gemma glanced at her watch and remembered that she was supposed to catch the bus heading back home at 7 in the evening. It’s already 5. Did she really spend a lot of time staring at The Big Red Dragon earlier? Or did she take too much time at the gift shop to buy nothing?

She started feeling like two hours wouldn’t be enough to complete everything. Could she maybe extend? Then again, how would leaving play out exactly?

“Alright, I need to go” isn’t going to cut it. She and Aiden already had moments. Now they’re in this limbo between being strangers and friends. They weren’t exactly strangers, but they weren’t friends just yet.

Plus they’re in an amusement park. They just met. Did it count for something?

She wished this could be more of a train incident where people smiled at each other when one offered a seat and that’s the end of that. They all get off their stops.

And if she and Aiden were ever going to be friends, in the real sense of the word after today, how’s that going to work? They’re going to stay in touch by texting? Chatting online? It all seemed superficial. It was not like meeting someone in school; she’s required to see that person almost every day, which made being friends with someone almost compulsory. But meetings like these…what did one do with them?

File them to chance encounters. 

About the Author

Dawn Lanuza has been imagining and writing love stories since she was a kid. She works for the music industry by day, and writes about meet cutes and snappy comebacks by night. She writes short stories, chick lit and young-adult fiction. She has a degree in Development Communication from the University of the Philippines.

Bloghttp://www.indiesisiw.wordpress.com
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/dawnlanuza
Instagramhttp://instagram.com/dawnrunsfast
Goodreadshttp://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8638162.Dawn_Lanuza

Blog Tour~When Sparks Fly by Ines Bautista-Yao: Author Interview and Giveaway

Hello, Ines! I’m so happy to have you here at Cinderella Stories. Welcome to my blog and thank you so much for granting me this interview. First of all, congratulations on your new book, “When Sparks Fly.”

Thank you so much for having me! I’m so excited and happy to be here. 🙂

1. Would you please tell us about your book When Sparks Fly? How long did you write this?

When Sparks Fly really started out as a short story to promote Only A Kiss. It was my first time to self-publish a book and I wanted to put up a short story for free to entice people to read my new book. So I figured a prequel would be a good idea — about characters in the first chapter of Only A Kiss, Ben and Regina. When I started writing it, however, my friend Treena who reads everything I write while I write it (I think I need her to push me), told me that I couldn’t just keep it as a short story. She fell in love with Ben and Reg and she told me they needed their own book. Of course this threw me off because I had to go back and add scenes and I had to stretch the story — but the good thing was, I didn’t just stretch it, it grew on its own.

It took so long to write this book — almost two years — or a little more than two years — because other stories got in the way. I wrote five short stories and another book in between! But I realized I had to finish it because I owed it to Ben and Reg. 🙂

2. When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a writer. When I was a kid, I would keep notebooks where I would write stories. I even put stickers on the first page to act as my cover. One of my classmates saw me writing one of my stories and wanted to read it and then the rest of the class started passing my stories around. I was surprised when they were getting passed to the next class too! But that was awesome and it pushed me to keep writing.

3. Ms. Ines, you’ve got a ‘day job’, what is your work schedule like when you’re writing? How does that work? Do you have a daily word count goal?

My day job is being a mother. And that is a 24/7 job with no breaks ever. So yes, it’s really hard to write. I also freelance — I write articles and I edit magazines and books. So sometimes, my fiction gets pushed aside while I need to focus on other things. I write when my kids are asleep, in school, or when they’re willing to play with my husband (but if I’m there, they prefer to play with me!!! Groan. Haha!). So this leads to writing in my notebooks — I do this when we travel. Or writing in my phone — I do this when I don’t have my notebook or if I have a sleeping child on me and I can’t move.

4. What is your writing process, do you work on an outline first or just go write without one?

I was just complaining about this last night! I usually write without an outline. I’m a pantser. I love realizing where the story is going while I write. It’s so exciting. BUT I know this is not ideal and if I do write an outline, I will be able to write faster and I wouldn’t have to read everything I’ve written again — I used to do that and it took so long! I hardly have time to write and it takes so much time re-reading what I’ve written so far. Plus, when I read writing books or watch writing seminars and workshops, they ALL say you need to outline. The last time I outlined, I couldn’t write. I was stuck. I was so uninspired. I closed my outline and I was able to write my story. For my next book, I did it again! I wrote an outline. And now, I’m not touching my story. I seriously wonder if something is wrong with me. Because you know, I love following rules. I’m a nerd that way.

5. What is one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

One of the most surprising things I have learned while writing is that I can push and push myself and I can actually do something I was terrified of doing before. And I can do it while I’m tired, while I’m sleep-deprived, and while there is loud, high-pitched music playing in the background as my kids scream and jump all around me. Although when that happens, I need to edit really carefully afterwards.

6. What do you think makes a good story?

A story needs a lot of elements to work together to be good. It needs a plot that moves quickly and has no loopholes, it needs a setting that is believable, it needs characters that are authentic, and so on. But what I look for when I read a book are characters I can relate to, characters who are so real that even if they cannot exist in real life because they are demons or fairies, there is still something about them that tugs at your heart and makes you care about them and what happens to them. I also appreciate settings that make me feel as if I’m in the actual place. It isn’t enough for the author to say that she’s in a particular country. If I can’t feel, smell, taste, or hear that place, it isn’t enough. But of course all of these things must work harmoniously. I should stop now because I can write an entire paper on this haha!

7. Do you have other works in progress?

Yes! My YA book that isn’t getting written because I made an outline for it hahahaha! I have serious thoughts about ditching the outline and just writing again. Then I will refer to the outline when I get stuck. I swear, I don’t know what is wrong with me. It’s frustrating.

8. Your tips for aspiring authors?

My advice is to just write. And not to expect your first book to be good. It most likely won’t be. Even if your mom says it’s awesome. Remember she’s biased. But keep at it. Keep writing and keep working on ways to improve. Read books, ask for advice from authors you admire, join a critique group, a workshop, a class. Don’t let the fire die. And remember, with each story you write, you will get better as long as you try.

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Giveaway

Click the image below for a chance to win an ecopy of: When Sparks Fly, Only a Kiss, or a paperback copy of When Sparks Fly

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About When Sparks Fly

Twenty-four-year-old photographer’s apprentice Regina has always felt like the plain, dull orange next to the shiny red apple that is her best friend Lana. But then she meets Ben—the first guy to ever break Lana’s heart, and the first guy to ever make Regina feel that he only has eyes for her. As Regina finds herself falling hard for Ben, she also finds herself breaking all the rules of best-friendship. Will she give up the love of her life for Lana, or will she finally realize that she deserves her share of the spotlight, too?

When Sparks Fly can be read as a standalone novel, but it is also a prequel to Ines Bautista-Yao’s other book Only A Kiss.

Purchase Link: amazon UK

About the Author

Reading and writing are close to Ines Bautista Yao’s heart ever since she was a child. She graduated from the Ateneo de Manila University with a degree in AB Communication Arts. She has been a teacher at the Assumption College San Lorenzo and the Ateneo de Manila University’s English department.

Her debut novel One Crazy Summer was first penned in 2007 when she was pregnant with her first daughter Addie. Being a mother has taken much of Ines’ time so she was only able to write 13 pages of her novel. She completed her story in April 2011, while three-year-old Addie was sleeping and inspiration struck her again. Two months later her story was complete. After eight months, her dream of publishing her own book came true. The book was only launched last January 26, 2012, but Ines is already writing her second novel.

Most readers can remember Ines as the former editor-in-chief of K-Zone Magazine and Candy Magazine . At present, Ines is working as an editor of Summit Books. She is also married to photographer Marc Yao, whom she says she consults whenever she’s stuck in the middle of a story she’s writing.

Sources:
One Crazy Summer Author Ines Bautista Yao on Juggling Writing and Motherhood by Belle Yambao
Spotlight on Filipino Authors: Ines Bautista-Yao (less)

#‎BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy Book 3: Transfixed by Mae Alva

This is my third Pinoy book of the month: Transfixed by Mae Alva.


Raiden finally succeeds in “seducing” Ashley. A part of him hopes he saved her from Denver—or so he thinks he did. In the end, he asks himself, did he really?

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About the Author

Mae Alva is a Cinderella. She loves to write about love and the struggles of the heart. She could easily come up with stories while cleaning the house or staring at the stars.

Connect with her at:

http://facebook.com/msmaealva
http://twitter.com/msmaealva
http://wattpad.com/user/msmaealva
Tumblr: msmaealva.tumblr.com
E-mail: msmaealva@gmail.com

Purchase Links:

Buy Transfixed here.

#‎BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy Book2: Making Him Fall by Jessica E. Larsen

Download Making Him Fall for free at Smashwords using the coupon code: SA23F during check out. This coupon is valid until August 15 (-08:00 GMT).

more here:

http://www.jessicaelarsen.com/blog/making-it-free-pun-intended-_

Happy reading!

About the book:


He’s the last thing she ever wanted, but she’s the only one who makes his life exciting.

Twenty-one-year-old Triste wanted nothing more than to be the crown princess of the Netherworld. She accepted her father’s condition of going to Moon Islands to find a thousand human souls to be her army or one pure soul as a sacrifice. In her first week, she found a man with a pure, untainted soul. The problem was that he had a guardian angel, Cadriel, who prevents her from getting close enough to this person. There’s only one solution: kill the angel and get the human.

Unlike most angels, instead of eliminating the demon who obviously plans to taint the soul of the person he was guarding, Archangel Cadriel amused himself by only hindering this young demon. He doesn’t care if she’s after his life; after all, one look and he can tell that he’s more experienced and has more skills than her. He could kill her anytime he wants. But can he?

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Purchase Links:

Print: Amazon Barnes&Noble
eBooks: Kindle Smashwords

About the Author

Jessica E. Larsen is an author of contemporary romance, YA, NA and Paranormal stories. She writes in both English and Taglish/Filipino language.

Jessica’s not hundred percent sure what her characters are thinking, but most of the heroine in her stories love to bite her head off and fall for the guy they dislike, then blame her for their misery.

When she’s not writing, you’ll find her reading or creating digital art.

Jessica doesn’t like doing housework, but love hearing from her readers. She might be late at times, but she always takes the time to reply to comments and messages.

https://www.facebook.com/authorJessicaELarsen