Renowrites blog!

Author of YA novel "Enlightenment" available March 2019!

Jeff Bezos interview on publishing

Interesting interview of Jeff Bezo’s take on publishing and Amazon Kindle’s future.

Check out the article here!

Filed under: Writing, , , ,

Big ups to Filipino American talent

Check out this NY Times Article on a Filipino American group called Legaci.

Never heard of them? No surprise since mainstream media has overlooked them for years, but the Filipino community hasn’t and now they’re making quite a mainstream story these days.

Legaci is now on tour with Justin Bieber and now getting a lot of publicity. I find it craaazy that this 16 year-old pop star is making Legaci blow up, but then I also found it weird that Miley Cyrus was a mentor on American Idol. What the heck do I know?

A lifetime ago, I was a music industry producer and promoter. I worked for Classified Records – a Northern California independent label and we stood behind singing groups Drop n Harmony, Pinay, Jocelyn Enriquez, M:G, Julie Plug, then I started my own label and produced female singers Malyssa and Michelle Alvendia. We could never truly crack mainstream music, the exception being Jocelyn Enriquez’s single “Do You Miss Me”.

Not all of these artists were of Filipino descent, but a prominent movement of Filipino American singers started, and I came in contact with a lot of them through shows and events. Kai, 6th Day, One Voice, Innerlude, Next Phaze, Ver5e, Premiere and solo singers Sharyn Maceren and Natalise were all artists trying to make it. They all hailed from Northern California, and there was quite a movement of artists releasing music between 1996 – 2006.

This decade of Asian American talent trying to reach mainstream was something I was proud to be part of, but it was difficult for everyone without support from a broader audience. These artists were competing for the same gigs and appearances in the Asian American community. Some creeped into mainstream, but most stayed within the confines of APA media outlets. I was focused towards making my artists reach the top, but I did show support by selling CDs of all artists through an online webstore I ran for a few years. Many of these singers competed on American Idol, and some made it further than others. Most prominent from this movement of AI auditioners from Northern California was DnH singer Jose “Sway” Penala who just recently released his album “My Story.”

One of these Northern California groups is Legaci, a group that has perservered through faith. I remember these guys when they were younger, and they had that youthful energy that made the girls love ’em. In my opinion, they never received the support of the greater community. In fact, I felt like they were hated on by a lot of people. Looking back, I wonder why the community could never unite as one, but hey…that’s a topic for another day.

I wanted to give out a big shout out to Micah, Delfin, Chris and Dominic, aka Legaci for their continued faith in their dream to make it in music. I’m pulling for them to have a financially secure future through music and hopefully the mainstream exposure will allow them to get truly paid.

That’s all the Filipino American singers/artists have asked for – a fair shake, a chance to compete on an even playing field. For years, we’ve been setup to fail by an industry that has disregarded our talent publicly. But we’ve been doing this for years. Go to the Philippines, and everyone is singing or playing an instrument. A Filipino household isn’t complete without the Magic Mic, and the most talented singers I know are Filipino or Asian.

But America isn’t privy to this yet. Those in charge are still trying to understand how to market Filipino American talent, so they go for the safe investment, unwilling to take a chance on a singer of Filipino descent. The only Filipino singers/artists (who identify themselves as Pinoy) that I know of who are making a good living from music I can count on one hand: Lea Salonga, of the Black Eyed Peas and Charice Pempengco. And these artists one can argue are not household names. There’s a few making a living from acting, but that’s for another blog entry. If I’m missing anyone please let me know, but that’s all who I can think of off the top of my head.

Legaci has been at this for years, and this is the first time they’ve been able to get this kind of exposure. And I’m ecstatic about it! Congratulations guys!

Filed under: Music, , , , , , , , ,

Amazon finalists

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award

I’d like to congratulate all the finalist for The 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novel! Whoop whoop! Although my manuscript didn’t get selected, it was awesome to be part of a great contest. The positive responses from fellow writers was amazing and look forward to seeing everyone’s manuscripts published one day! The feedback from this contest motivates me to keep writing.To see the list of finalists, click here!

Now back to writing. I wish I didn’t procrastinate so much, but when my kids throw on Disney Channel, I find myself watching too!

Filed under: Writing

Chains vs. Indies

Borders bookstore

Borders - will this chain be around 5 years from now?

One of my favorite Bay area bookstores is Books, Inc, a regional indie. The workers are knowledgeable for the most part and I love the witty book reviews they post below titles on the bookshelf.

But I also don’t mind hanging out at Borders or Barnes & Nobles even if I can feel the non-local corporate feeling in the air whenever I walk in. There’s something comforting in knowing I can go anywhere in the country and there’s a bookstore I can go to that looks like the one at home.

In today’s publishing climate, the argument over chains and indies continues. B&N has shuttered stores throughout 2009 and 2010. Today Borders announced layoffs. I also read an article about Stephenie Meyer’s latest release The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner that hasn’t sold well at indie bookstores. The article explores the possibility this title wasn’t written for the local bookstore crowd.

And that had me thinking. Who is the local bookstore crowd? And why wouldn’t they like this title? I go to both chains and indies because in my warped mind, I see the benefits of both. But I guess there are people who choose one over the other?

As I focus on polishing up my writing, the actual art of selling books sits in the back of my mind. Something tells me that chain bookstores will have to continue downsizing with digital book sales gaining marketshare.

Hopefully, one of my novels will be caught in the timeless debate of David vs. Goliath!

Filed under: Writing