Renowrites blog!

Author of YA novel "Enlightenment" available March 2019!

Booktalk in Los Angeles

ᜊ ᜆ ᜎ Booktalk at Philippines Expressions Bookshop in San Pedro on Saturday 8/31/19 had me in a great mood when a reader came up with a copy of Enlightenment from her library for me to sign. Memorable times with Tita Linda Nietes, Robert, MariLu Morris! Great to hang out with my homie Rex Sampaga and spent time exchanging stories with Eliseo Art Arimbulo Silva, Abe Pagtama and entrepreneur and writer Gabe Pagtama who has a new release on the Watsonville Riots. As I make my rounds to different bookstores and festivals around the country, I’m encouraged by the support and acceptance of Enlightenment and The Bathala Series in the literary world. Here’s to Philippines Expressions Bookshop for offering me and other Filipino authors a platform for our stories! #renowrites #authorlife

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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.

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Bookish Spotlight

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

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The Last Remaining

The first working title for “Enlightenment” was “The Last Remaining.” The evolution of a novel.

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Tell your story

I’ve learned it’s okay to tell your story. Although this seems like a simple concept, it never was for me. I had to be silent most of my life in order to fit in to the environment I was surrounded by. I felt no one would understand how important it was to me to be both Filipino and American.

I was never quite American enough. Or Filipino enough. I was in between. Midwest Americans didn’t see me as a Midwesterner. Filipinos silently disapproved I didn’t speak Tagalog.

I’m still in between, but more creative types are coming out of the woodwork who have experienced this “feeling.” I can tell by their art. I attended my first Fil Am Creative Event on Friday 11/10/2017 and saw short films with Filipino American perspectives.

I was laughing, crying and covering my eyes during the screenings. Mostly, I sighed in relief for the first time since I was on set of “The Debut” film years ago, a film that focused on 1st generation vs. 2nd generational conflict. To see a slew of short films from all these talented Filipino American filmmakers and actors who are expressing themselves through art is what should have happened years ago. What happened after the Debut? Everyone has an opinion, but now…finally…there is a valid literary and theatrical Filipino American movement.

This year, the novel by Melissa De La Cruz “Somewhere in Between” gives credence to identifying as both Filipino and American. More Filipino American novels are being released by Arkipelago Books in SF. And my novel “Enlightenment” is being released in 2018.

“Enlightenment is a Filipino American novel tied to the history of our people prior to the Spanish arrival in the Philippines. This is a story I was afraid of while I was writing it. I was afraid of people’s reactions to the novel’s inclusion of both Christian and Islamic historical ties to the islands. I was afraid my Filipino American writing perspective would be considered invalid.

But now all these years after first penning this novel and literally burning the midnight oil while working a full time job, starting and running a 501c3 youth basketball program and raising a family, the novel is at its final edits. And hopefully, this is the first of many stories I’m no longer afraid to tell.

Thank you to all the Filipino American writers, directors, actors and organizers who are telling their stories.

You inspire me.

Filed under: Filipino American, Writing, , , ,


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.

Filed under: Filipino American, Writing, , , , , ,

Writers block

Ever had writer’s block?

It happens to all writers at some point. It definitely has hit me. Sometimes, just getting my word processing program up & running and opening the manuscript is a task in itself. I tend to blame my busy work schedule and the demands of being a parent, but when I really think about it, I have no excuse. I have to make time and use my limited time wisely.

Having said that, I am not where I wish to be in my fiction writing career. I have two manuscripts I’ve written and continually edit and edit, never happy, never happy. I will have to get over this some day if I want my work published. The perfectionist in me is a blessing and curse.

Will I ever be happy with my writing?

When I become frustrated, I focus on my family and sports, delaying the inevitable return to the manuscript. From there, it becomes a spiral of frustration, a feeling that “I can do better” resonates in my mind with every edit and re-write. It’s my deepest hope that my writing is worth remembering for years to come — and I’m not willing to rush it for the sake of getting something published.

Hopefully, my writing one day will be out to the word and worth remembering. Until that day, onward I go in my writing journey.

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I’m a commuter. My work is about 48 miles from my home…one way. That means I put about 100 miles on my old beat-up tracker a day to and from work. Somehow (knock on wood), my 1997 Tracker is surviving. Somehow, I’m surviving.

But you see, it’s not as bad as it sounds. I don’t mind it so much. Yes. There are days when the traffic is stop and go. Yes, it would be nice to work closer to home. Yes, I occasionally get frustrated with traffic. But…

I have my family. I have a job. We have a roof over our head. And I find myself really enjoying my life.

I actually like my day job. The day goes by fast and before I know it, it’s time to go home. After work, I get on the road and an hour or so later, I’m spending time with the kids. Then leave for an hour to coach basketball.

You see, I have the most supportive wife anyone can ask for. Without her, I wouldn’t have been able to start the Mountain House Wolverines AAU travel basketball club. The Wolverines have 8 teams ranging from U8 to U16 ages. We play AAU tournaments across Northern California and parts of Nevada. I feel blessed that the community has supported the program’s efforts. I feel humbled I have players who believe in our organization. But it has me running around as I manage all the teams to ensure parents and players have their practice schedules, tournament schedules and are on the same page with our mindset.

Admittedly, it’s taken away from my ability to write consistently. But…that changes now. Writing will always be a part of me. And now, I have the opportunity to allow basketball and writing to co-exist in my life. 

Let the challenge begin…Image


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Adios 2011

New Year’s Eve always brings out the nostalgia in me. What have I done this year? Have I progressed in my writing? More importantly, have I provided for my family? Have I been a good husband? Dad? Brother? Son? Have I helped make the world a better place?

I come up with various answers, always leaning towards the positive. It is my opinion that life can only be lived by looking at the bright side of things without being naive to what I need to improve on.

There’s always room for improvement. I have a lot I want to do with my writing, but I have faith that an author’s work will be recognized at the time it was destined to. My writing goal in 2012 is to continually work on my writing and let the chips fall where they may. In truth, how other people will respond to my writing is out of my control. In 2012, I write to satisfy an inside desire to tell stories that make sense to me.

And one day, hopefully it makes sense to a few other people.

Thank you 2011 for teaching me many lessons. I hope to learn from these lessons to become a better person, primarily to focus on the moment without letting it pass me by so quickly. My kids are growing so fast that I will work on pressing the pause button. 

To all my writer friends, may your writings be heard by the world and may satisfaction come to you through your prose. To my music industry friends, take care of yourself and keep pounding out hits. To family and friends, thank you for being in my life.

I wish you all a prosperous 2012!

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