Renowrites blog!

Author of YA novel "Enlightenment" available March 2019!

Tucson Festival of Books

Had a great time at the Tucson Festival of Books March 2 & 3! Met some great authors and I geeked out at Readers positive reactions to Enlightenment. It seems Filipino folklore & mythology in Young Adult fiction hasn’t been done before according to many. Maybe in the States?

There has to be some YA novels with Filipino folklore written in the Philippines I imagine! That’s my next quest to find out more YA novels titles that have Filipino mythology as its backdrop. Anyone who knows of titles please share!

Here’s some photos from the Festival!

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Filed under: Writing,

A whirlwind

Life has been flashing by! Since Enlightenment was released in March, I’ve been to 4 booktalks and 3 Book Festivals, all in the name of my Bathala Series! Tucson, Dallas, Los Angeles and Berkeley have been memorable experiences!

All the authors I’ve met have been supportive and for the most part, readers have given me love. Here’s some pics of the various events.

I’ve also had two blog tours so big shout out to Tita Kate Heceta for the Philippines Blog Tour and Sarah Slattery for the stateside tour.

Lately I’ve attended political events within the Fil-Am community to mobilize our community for the 2020 election. I hold a board position in a couple Fil-Am organizations and it’s been keeping me busy outside of my writing world. I’ve been trying to figure out how to talk about my Filipino community involvement while also promoting my Young Adult novel. I don’t want to alienate anyone since politics can be divisive. But my involvement is worth mentioning here and there, and that’s what I’m resolved to do through this blog.

At the same time, I’m working on meeting deadlines for Book Two of The Bathala Series. Some days are slower than others, but when I have a good writing session, I reward myself with sushi!

More to come this summer! Stay tuned! In the meantime, enjoy these random pics of events I’ve attended!

With Terry Nicholas and Des De Leon of indiepop band Julie Plug.

With California assemblyman Rob Bonta

At a LA Philippine consulate’s home!

Book talk at Mockingbird Books

With my Board members at the Fil-Am Caucus meeting.

Filed under: Writing,

Enlightenment at Bay Area Book Festival

I was recently on a blog tour and here’s one of the reviews by a blogger named Nox Reads. Thank you Nox Reads!

I’m loving the feedback on Enlightenment and it’s simply an honor that readers take the time to read my novel. Writing is a solitary activity and is a battle with yourself. To have it out in the world brings a sense of accomplishment, tempered only with a desire for more exposure; this cycle for wanting more goes up a level. In 2019, I’m grateful and hopeful for the next books in The Bathala Series.

On May 4-5, we had a table at the Bay Area Book Festival in Berkeley. Great time meeting other authors and readers interested in Enlightenment. We were blown away by the authors around us! Thanks Bay Area Book Fest for having us and appreciate them for exposing Enlightenment to the readers in the Bay! What a great time!

Filed under: Writing,

Accio! Enlightenment!

Here’s a review of Enlightenment by Philippines blogger ZIA!

I found this super sincere and honest and I wish I could write reviews like this! And I love the name of her blog (Harry Potter reference people)!

Here’s an excerpt:

Some reviewers have likened this book with Rick Riordan’s mythology adventure series since Enlightenment brings Filipino myths and creatures in modern times but if you’re a veteran reader of young adult books, you’ll recognize that this book feels more like a YA paranormal/fantasy romance a laMelissa dela Cruz. Secret magical society, chosen ones, mystic dream sequences, inexplicable magical elements, and, most importantly, a hunky male main character that’s destined to protect the female lead – the recipe for a lot of YA paranormal romance in the past decade.

While I’m not one to enjoy a run-of-the-mill YA fantasy romance – I’ve read enough, some might even say too many, to know that that’s just not my cup of tea – I did find the use of Filipino myths and folklore a breath of fresh air in this book.

For the full review, click here!

Filed under: Writing,

LA Festival of Books

The LA Festival of Books took place April 13-14 on the University of Southern California campus. I had committed to coaching my son’s basketball team’s tournament in Irvine and after the Sunday morning game, we headed up to #bookfest!

We ended up catching the YA panel featuring Jenny Smith, Maureen Go and Melissa dela Cruz. What a great way for an author like myself to pick an author’s brain!

After the panel, I walked with my family motivated more than ever to be invited on a panel someday.

Here’s some pics!

Filed under: Writing,

Bookish Spotlight

Thank you to Camillea’s Reads! Check out her wonderful blog!

Filed under: Writing,

Philippines Blog Tour

Happy to announce the…dum dum dum….Twitter #enlightenmentblogttour in the Philippines!

If you’re on Twitter, use the above hashtag and you’ll see all the interesting goings ons with Enlightenment: Book One of The Bathala Series! Thanks to @titakate for hosting and promoting Enlightenment to the Philippines and Southeast Asian YA readership! A YA novel like mine that has Filipino folklore as its backdrop is one to at least give a read, regardless of the fact I’m the author.

Also as a sidenote, I’m currently working on Book Two of The Bathala Series. Less time blogging and more time writing has been my motto the last month and a half. While Enlightenment takes place in Vegas, Book Two takes place in the Philippines. With The Bathala Series targeted as a 7 Book Series, we are in the early stages of an unpredictable adventure.

It’s my hope YA readers gravitate to Enlightenment, learn a few things and become connected to Dorothy, Adrian and Stella. These three have been interacting in my head and on the page for years, so to share them with the world is a surreal feeling. Readers – be kind to my babies lol!

#enlightenmentblogtour on Twitter until March 30th! Hopefully you can check it out and be part of the conversations. 🖖🏼

Filed under: Writing

MLK Holiday

On January 3rd, 1986, the first MLK Holiday was national recognized in the United States. The MLK Holiday has only been in our consciousness for 33 years. Only since 1986. At that time, only 27 states and Washington DC recognized the third Monday of January as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

The state of Arizona did not recognize the holiday until 1992. South Carolina was the last state to recognize MLK Day as a paid holiday. This happened in the year 2000. Today in 2019, all 50 states and U.S. territories recognize MLK Day as a holiday.

It is my opinion we’ve come quite a ways since the bill was introduced in 1983. This is a people’s holiday, a holiday to recognize with a man’s message of peace and hope, a holiday to recognize that race is not the determining factor in a person’s character or fate.

This photo of Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States from 2008-2016, reminds me that America and the world is slowly getting past the marginal attitudes of the past. Slowly…very slowly…

Slowly…we prod along…slowly.

Here’s to Martin Luther King, Jr…a man ahead of his time.

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Can you guess where this chocolate mold is displayed?

Filed under: politics, Writing

Young Adultish talk

Should YA writers conform to a publishing standard or have their dialogue reflect real talk between teenagers and young adults?

School Library Journal writes on this issue and it’s worth asking.

What do YA readers want to read?

Real vernacular between characters resonates better with me as a YA reader. It’s just more of an authentic voice to me and I connect with the story better. And I strongly believe a “publishing standard” are rules set by generations of publishers and writers from majority backgrounds. Writers from minority backgrounds have historically had to conform.

Now we are here in 2019 asking this question. And to me, it’s progress.

Filed under: Writing

Trese – Comicbook and Netflix Series

Mythology.

Each culture has its own derivative unique to their own people. For Filipinos, we have distinct mythology that pre-dates Spanish colonization. This is one reason my book series is called The Bathala Series. Bathala was a deity worshipped by native islanders. For pop culture authors and creators, this mythology is open for interpretation and a treasure trove for creativity.

For Enlightenment, I wrote a coming-of-age love story with Filipino history and mythology adding to the mystery and tension in Dorothy and Adrian’s relationship. I’ve added elements that had my pop culture side tingling with excitement while being careful to be respectful to my people’s history.

Besides the excitement of having my own novel released in March 2019, I’m excited that Filipino mythology is spawning more stories from various content creators like myself.

Trese is a comic book published in 2005 and is now on Netflix as an animated series. If you haven’t read the comic, read it. Like my novel Enlightenment, it’s one author’s take on Filipino mythology.

As explained in this Vice article, author Budjette Tan and illustrator Kajo Baldisimomined the treasure trove of Philippine folklore to tell the story of their titular, kick-ass heroine, a detective with mysterious skills and otherworldly weapons, who works with the police to solve crimes that defy science and ordinary motives.

There are six anthologies and they are all kick-ass awesome. Check out Trese on Goodreads! And watch it on Netflix by searching “Trese.”

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