Renowrites blog!

Author of YA novel "Enlightenment" available March 2019!


I can’t think of a better time to announce this than during #filipinoamericanmonth!

Introducing the book cover for my debut novel “Enlightenment: Book One of the Bathala Series”.

Set in modern day Las Vegas, 18 year old Dorothy Dizon’s life takes an exciting turn when the alluring Adrian Rosario peaks her curiosity with knowledge of obscure Filipino folklore. Adrian keeps his identity and the truth of Dorothy’s father’s disappearance hidden knowing she has already embarked on a supernatural journey tied to her Filipino ancestry. Together, they struggle through an emotional ride that only their heritage can explain.

After years of burning the midnight oil, it’s finally going to be released to the world. I hope this will be considered a meaningful contribution to #filipinoamericanliterature #filipinoamericanlit #youngadultbooks #youngadultfiction #youngadult #yabooks

I’m humbled and excited to announce this novel will be released as an ebook and in print in 2018. Exact format release dates to be announced soon! Any forthcoming book events also to be announced soon.

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In the Country

I'm in the middle of reading Mia Alvar's "In the Country", a collection of nine short stories with a distinct Filipino perspective. One story is of a Filipino teacher in an Arab country. Another is of a white girl living in Manila. So far, I've found each story holding on to an unwritten fundamental authenticity that readers of all backgrounds would enjoy reading.

I applaud books like these. We need more storytellers, more writers to highlight the Filipino hues that make up the world's colors. Too many times, many Filipino writers and filmmakers have unintentional flaws in their storytelling. Some make the Filipino viewpoint an afterthought for the sake of satisfying a mainstream audience. Others make their stories have too many Filipino inside jokes and forget the important non-Filipino readers. It wasn't until I read Melissa De la Cruz's "Something In Between" did I finally read a novel that showcased the credible balance of a Fil-Am protagonist making their way n the world. Now with In The Country, I find another author working on this balance.

This gives me hope that Filipino American storytelling is evolving and morphing into a credible genre. We need to support books like these to prove to publishers there is an interested audience. I sure hope there is an interested audience. We need more successful Filipino writers, more impactful stories with Filipino protagonists.

Which has me biting my tongue about my writing. If all goes well, an announcement soon. Keeping my fingers crossed.

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Filipino writers

I’ve always wondered why there aren’t more Filipino writers who are household names. I’m sure pundits will say there’s a lot of Filipino writers out there, but I argue that they lie in the shadows, their talents vastly unknown to the world.

I’m a fan of many contemporary Filipino writers – authors Melissa De La Cruz, Jessica Hagedorn, Cecilia Brainard, Oscar Peneranda, Mel Orpilla, and Marjorie Evasco come to mind. They are, in my opinion, great writers. Melissa De La Cruz I would say has sold the most books, with Jessica Hagedorn close behind her. Melissa’s novels targets the YA teen market in America, so my assumptions are based on her genre and subject matter, while Jessica’s is more artistic, which I believe caters to more niche crowd.

But in the relative mass market scheme of things, they are still trying to emerge from the shadows of other contemporary writers like Stephenie Meyer, Jodie Picoult, Nicholas Sparks, Kristin Hannah…well the list can go on forever. I think this is something that cannot be disputed based on book sales.

I wonder why this is the case, besides the fact that most writers, regardless of ethnicity, live in obscurity.

When I think of the greatest Filipino writer of all time, Mr. Jose Rizal I’m reminded how it takes an entire army of people to make a profound change in the world. Unfortunately, if you ask any ordinary Filipino American teenager or young adult who Jose Rizal is, I would say the vast majority of them would look back at you with blank stares, his revolutionary work El Filibusterismos almost forgotten with the new generation of Filipino Americans.

In my opinion, most Filipinos just aren’t into writing anymore. We are a people who love to eat, party, socialize, watch tv, films, sports, youtube, and post witty comments on Facebook. In my opinion, there just isn’t enough interest to write in the Filipino community.

So when new Filipino authors emerge, I become intrigued and hopeful. I’m super excited about Miguel Syjuco, a Filipino author, who is gaining praise for his debut novel Ilustrado’s. I have yet to read it, but can’t wait to see how Syjuco wraps his Filipino journey into English prose. A new author like Syjuco keeps me hopeful.

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