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Beyond Romance Class

8 Feb

 Passion unleashed, fully fledged authors spread their wings and begin their journey beyond the romance class and into the unknown.

Erica Jong said, “ We all have talent, what is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads. “ 

The #romanceclass or Yes, I’m Writing a Contemporary Romance Novella group is having its first anniversary bash on February 8,2014 , coinciding with the launch of a group effort called Luna East Academy, an anthology of short stories for the younger set or what is called young adults . The party will be held at the Ayala Museum lobby.

What does it take to write a romance novel? If this is a question that lingers in your mind, there’s a word that can answer it. Passion. Not interest, not pastime, but something stronger to the point of obsession.

Writing is a very private endeavor. But if you are planning to publish, it’s best to find a group like #romanceclass for support and group effort on marketing strategy. Yes, marketing. Unlike traditional publishing where you just submit your manuscript to an editor of a traditional publishing company and then wait to be accepted (or rejected whatever the case). They market your book and print it and distribute it to bookstores. In indie publishing, you market your own work.

In indie or independent publishing, you write the book, create your cover, upload it on an online platform like Smashwords (who in turn distribute it to Kobo,Sony, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Amazon, etc.) where readers buy it and download it on their computers, tablets, cell phones and other devices. You can also opt to have it printed which is more expensive to do.

The #romanceclass mentored by bestselling romance novelist Mina V. Esguerra has accomplished a successful project which has spawned other projects, which as of this time are under wraps. But to be sure, they’re getting hotter by the minute. Knowingly or unknowingly, Ms. Esguerra not only set off an industry but a sisterhood of the literary kind.

 More than fifteen people were able to finish their novels, and ten have so far published online and in print.  The writers do the work themselves like finding editors, printers (if they want it in printed book form), and marketing it through social media, television and newspapers. The question remains, who decides who goes or stays? Not the traditional publishers anymore, but the readers themselves.

To quote Mark Coker, Ceo and Founder of Smashwords, the best books market themselves on the wing of word of mouth. Write a good book, give it great editing, great cover, and a fair price and then get to work on the next book.

This new breed of independent romance writers hugging the Philippine literary scene are here to stay. There is a void inside Filipino readers’ hearts and bookshelves. And I personally believe, like what Ms. Jong  said, where there is emptiness, there is fullness somewhere.



Time and again …

18 Sep

Time and again I have an affair with books, waking up mornings with sunlight streaming from the window and specks of sun dust in my hair, my arms straddled on the bed with a book that just that night was a stranger to me.
-Unspoken, Ami Granada

Discover a Book by its Cover

4 Sep


My inspiration for my book cover is the selfie which is what Georgina uses as HER inspiration. The backdrop is Paris, a place that has been considered the center of gravity for artists, poets and writers. Since the book centers on the changing life of a yuppie, I put greater emphasis on her face…They say that a face can launch a thousand ships…

Reading a Book is a Walk in the Park

28 Aug

One of my friends said that books are passé. Now that computers have virtually dominated our milieu, books will become a relic of the past according to her. I begged to disagree with her. I tried reading on the computer for a few hours and I got an eye strain. Well, assuming that iPads and Kindle have gone viral and infected just about everybody in cyberspace, books still have the greatest impact on some of the most celebrated leaders of our time.
I’m not exactly a techie, but I have moves of my own when it comes to the keyboards. And I love my computer. But it doesn’t give me the relaxation that a good book can.
Alas! With all the techno craze going on in the virtual sphere, our children are all spaced out. And they are actually enjoying the time of their lives.
But why books? Are we not now in the future as what Isaac Asimov predicted?
A book is like a walk in the park. It gives you time to reflect without the temptations of facebook, google, messages, or whatever. It’s the grass under your feet, the clouds floating idly by.
Here are some courses of action you can do to save your child from the clutches of his cyber attachment and lead him to discover the beauty of the pages.
1. Be sneaky. Buy the latest craze in the market like the Hunger Games or the Harry Potter series. Make sure the books lie around where the kids can find it. Read some fascinating parts or mystery and tell them about it during dinner. Use the cool words in the book like quidditch or something unpronounceable and have a fun time tongue twisting. Talk about the characters like Katniss and Peeta.
2. Create a game where in the children have to guess the characters in a book. It can also be a story game. This will stimulate interest in the characters. What magical powers do they have? Who is Harry Potter’s love interest? Where is Panem? What do you mean by “hunger games”?
3. Go to the bookstore with the kids and browse. It’s free to browse. The smell of the pages, the illustrations, the touch of the book jacket, they all come together as an experience in itself. The library was a magic kingdom to me when I was small.
4. Buy books that have familiar characters like Stuart Little, Charlotte’s Web, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys. Tell them that the movies were actually made based on the novels not the other way around.
5. When you go to the beach, have a picnic or travel to another country, buy a book in that place. Make the book a part of your travel.
6. Always scout for great buys in second hand stores. I found most of my classics in bargain bins.
7. Make them choose whatever topic they like. I have hundreds of classics in my shelves but my kids prefer Libba Bray and J.K. Rowling.
8. Be firm when it comes to playing computer games. Put a password in the computer.
9. Tell them reading is cool. It makes one a more interesting person.
10. Read. Perhaps that is the best way to do it. When a child sees you reading, he will be curious. Make this curiosity work for you by taking him into your world.
11. And when you take a walk in the park, don’t forget to carry one. It’s the one friend that will always be there.

Published in the Manila Bulletin.Image


When I saw him…

22 Aug

 When I saw him… I felt the world was yanked from underneath my feet and that I was walking on the moon’s terrain, weightless, and could be thrown into space anytime.

-Ami Granada in Unspoken

Unspoken (An Excerpt)

20 Aug

Paris is the center of gravity for bohemians: artists, poets, writers. They all flock to it, for it is another character in itself. Paris has its own personality. And if only it can talk, oh what stories it can tell. I have read somewhere that Paris can have an effect on writers much more than  they have an effect on it.

Many artists have gone for days with lack of victuals, walking the streets of Montparnasse ,  sustained only  by their passion for beauty, and angst for love during those hungry years.

To see myself in sepia posing, backdropped by the Eiffel Tower, as if I myself am part of that colony of writers, that is my heart’s yearning.  I would love the cliché of having an old beaten Royal typewriter by my side while I write on my Mac. I would write as if I have something important to say. I would write my book.

I would love the image of me lounging in Le Deux Magots where I would stretch my booted feet and look lazily and longingly at people while I try to concentrate on a book I promised to read in this city of Gertrude Stein, Van Gogh and Coco Chanel.

I would love to linger at a hawker’s stall in Montmartre and hunt for trinkets, perhaps a tiny bracelet with a miniature Eiffel tower. I would love to shriek in delight when I unearth a poem in ink by T.S. Eliot or a sketch of Collette perhaps, reproductions of course but who cares.

I would love to say Merci! and curl my tongue and sound nasal while I haggle for a brown rusty copy of Zelda Fitzgerald’s love letter to Scott.

I would try hard not to look giddy but bored and chic in my sleek jacket and walk the streets of Montparnasse while Edith Piaf sings in my head “Cest sibon…lalalala..”  . Isn’t this the place where Frieda Kahlo let go of her painter and made love to a girl instead?

I would love to try the crepe sold on a sidewalk food stall and feel the morning sun on my cheeks while olive oil dribbles on my chin.

And if I cannot have my bestseller, I would settle for the next best thing. I would have my romance with gay Pareeh’…




“Sometimes the …

17 Aug

“Sometimes the words which are most meaningful and most beautiful are those words that remain unspoken.” Ami Granada in Unspoken