Friday, August 1, 2014

Love in Any Season: Out Now!


I am pleased to announce that Save the Cake is part of the Love in Any Season chick lit bundle, along with In Over Her Head (by Anne Plaza) and Just A Little Rain (by Jayen San Diego). The regular price for this bundle is 99 cents, but for a limited time you can get this for FREE. And who doesn't love free books?

Come and support your Filipino chick-lit authors! Click here to buy.

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ERRATUM: We forgot to mention in our last entry that the blog tour for Kesh Tanglao's Gezellig series was organized by Dianne of Oops! I Read A Book Again. We apologize for any inconveniences caused by this omission. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Blog Tour: An Interview with Kesh Tanglao + Giveaway

Title: The Real Score (Gezellig #1)
Author: Kesh Tanglao
Date of Publication: August 28, 2013
Genre: contemporary romance/chick-lit

We at The Great Big Jump would like to welcome back our fellow #romanceclass author Kesh Tanglao to our blog. 




About the book: Caitlin's friendship with Marcus, the de facto frontman of the world's biggest boy band Gezellig, has long been an object of scrutiny by almost everyone--their friends and families, the media, and his fans--ever since they "went public" a couple of years back. Who wouldn't be interested? She was a nobody, catapulted into the limelight of his fame when he struck an unusual friendship with her.

To both Caitlin and Marcus, what they have is a "perfect little thing." But then something comes along and threatens it.

In a no-holds-barred interview, will they finally be forced to settle the score?


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In anticipation of the release of her follow-up book in the Gezellig series, we engaged with Kesh in a little Q&A about fandoms, writing music, and the band you should be listening to right now. 


What's your take on the current wave of boy bands and the fandoms that surround them? Do you think that fans these days are taking this too seriously? 
I think the Internet did some great wonders for these boy bands and their fandoms. It was easier for the bands to connect to their fans, and for the fans to give feedback to their idols. But yes, I think sometimes, the fans do take things too seriously. This social media trend brings out the worst in fandoms: rumors spread like wildfire, the cyberbullying of people who hate on the boy band or the girls that the members date, etc. It could get crazy sometimes that you just shake your head at the things fans do. But I also know that these fandoms save lives. There are some who find real friends in these fandoms. I've heard stories about some girls stopping from cutting themselves or even from committing suicide because of the people they find in these fandoms. Being in a fandom is a really amazing and confounding thing. 

How important is music to your writing process?  
Very important! I think that's why I keep writing about bands or musicians, too. Sometimes I listen to songs and then I get inspiration off them. Other times, I just need some music to block off the world while I write, so I keep it on. I feed off the emotions in the songs I listen to. 

Caitlin started off as a non-fan of Gezellig, yet Marcus uses his powers of persuasion to "give (them) a chance." Are there any musical acts or bands that you've ended up liking after giving their music another listen? Are there any bands that you're listening right now that you wish more people would enjoy? 
Before it was Paramore and Imagine Dragons! My brother just convinced me to listen to them. But right now...if you follow me on Twitter, I think you've pretty much figured out this one: 5 Seconds of Summer (5SOS). I dismissed them last year when they became the opening act to One Direction, thinking that they could just be another boy band, and I've had it with boy bands. And then they released Heartbreak Girl and Try Hard. That's when I figured they're different. That they're a band, a guitar-driven band like Blink-182, Green Day (esp. now that they've released more of their rockier stuff). I wish people would get to appreciate them more instead of dismissing them just like I did, haha. Plus they are (I say this in the most endearing way) a crazy band. Check out their Keeks, Instagramvids, and Twitcams. Worth your time, I swear. 

What piece of advice would you give to any real-life Gezer types who take their fandoms too seriously?
People will not like everything that you like, and may not understand how much you love these bands. Don't tell people to go kill themselves if they say a negative thing about the band. Take a deep breath and walk away. It happens. And whoever you're fangirling over -- they're also human. If they get girlfriends, be sad for a moment, and then move on. They deserve to be happy, too. :) 

If someone were to write a song about you, who would it be, and how do you want that song to go? 
Ooh, tough one! I'd say I want Ed Sheeran to come up with something about me. I like his songs, and he's a great songwriter! :) He could write about anything, like a date or something and that would be fine. 

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About the author:
Kesh Tanglao is a full-time market researcher. When she’s not crunching numbers, she spends most of her free time watching TV shows, listening to music, and reading. Also a self-proclaimed fangirl, she likes cheering for her favorite sports teams and supporting her favorite artists.

Kesh is giving away a paperback of The Real Score, a lootbag full of goodies and an ebook of the new Gezellig book (un)breakable to one winner from the Philippines. For all internaitonal peeps, there will be 5 winners of ebooks of The Real Score and (un)breakable.

Join the Rafflecopter giveaway below! 
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Monday, July 7, 2014

Books I've Read, So Far

This post is brought to you by The Smiths.


(Once again, I can't post streaming video on this blog. Stupid Blogger and YouTube won't get their acts together.)

I have been on a reading spree these last few months, thanks to Kindle for iOS and alerts on book discounts from several book blogs. While I may have started out downloading books left and right, I have since become quite picky about the books I've been reading; why waste time on a book I'm bound to hate, after all? So it took a while for me to winnow down this list of books to ones I actually like, and would be more than happy to recommend to other people.

As I've mentioned, I'm picky about the books I choose to read, so my recommendations meet the following criteria:

- No cliffhangers. I don't have enough money to spend on books, and I don't have time to wait on installments. How do you expect me to enjoy your book when you haven't bothered to finish the story? That's unfair to me, as a reader, because waiting would mean that you're being clever, and I don't like writers who try too hard to be clever.

- In a similar vein: No love triangles. Now, I know that a few of my writer friends have written books with love triangles in them, and I don't have any complaints because I understand where they were coming from. But I don't like love triangles where writers actually want you to choose and build "teams," because I think it's a lose-lose situation for both readers and writers. I'm a grown-up now; I want my heroines to be mature enough to live with their choices, and I want the people who care about them to feel the same way.

- The protagonists must be adults who don't draw out their dramas for the sake of the plot. You'll hear more about this when I discuss the "billionaire bachelor" trope later in this entry.

- The protagonists must live to see the very end. That's part of the reason why I still haven't read The Fault in Our Stars.

- No editing problems. Working on my current editing job has taught me that even the best stories can be brought down by poor grammar and flawed internal logic. And yes, I should talk.

- "Happily ever after," or at least "happy for now." Again, I want a guarantee that the characters have made the right choices, and that they're willing to live with those choices once I close the book.

And now that we've gone through the criteria, let's get right to the recommendations...


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Checking In.

This post is brought to you by Cesc Fabregas, because I have terrible taste in futbol boyfriends and I still haven't forgiven Spain for getting themselves eliminated in the first round of the World Cup.

Okay, so the teeth are the deal-breaker here. But still! The eyes! The hair! Don't laugh at me! 
I promised that I would start blogging again this July, so I thought I'd check in with you to let you know what I've been up to in the last few weeks.

- Traveling: Last month I traveled to Indonesia for a reunion with my classmates from Jakarta International School. It was such a joy because not only did I get to reconnect with friends I haven't seen in years, but I also got to visit a country that I have not visited in two decades. So much has changed in Jakarta that the place is virtually unrecognizable - it's almost like Manila now, but with worse traffic and larger malls. In a way, it was also a healing trip for me because seeing everyone again in the city helped me make peace with the person that I used to be when I left Indonesia. Who knew that the geeky girl who wrote angsty poetry would turn out to be so cool after all? (Next up: Bali.)

- Writing: I just started a new novella for Camp NaNoWriMo, which is set in the chaotic world of TV sports news. The plot involves a road trip to Indonesia, a lovesick goalie, and an irresistible alpha male sports anchor who knows how to improvise when it all comes down to the wire. Anything can happen between now and the end of the month, but I love this story so much that I want you to fall in love with these characters the way you did with the folks from Save the Cake. I'll have the full WIP report for you by the end of the month.

- Deal-making: There are a lot of big projects coming down the pike, and some of them are things that I'm not allowed to talk about until they're ready. Rest assured that I'll let you be the first to know about them once the details are finalized!

- Blog-touring: Not for Save the Cake (unfortunately), but there will be some blog-tour stopovers from friends of The Great Big Jump. I promised to use my blogging powers for good, so I'd like to spread the love and hope that you too will share the joy.

- Reading: These past few months have brought so many awesome books to my shelf, and I've been all over the Internet pushing certain titles that have blown me away. (I think I may have said the words "this book has ruined me" more than once.) I'll write about them once I get the chance!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Hiatus

This has been a crazy month, and it's bound to get crazier for the next few depending on what happens with my schedule. Most of the time has been taking up by writing and editing a Big Project (the details of which I can't share until I'm ready), but there's also some big academic stuff coming up in the coming months and I have to take control of those, too.

This also means that the blogging has to go...for now...or at least until July, when I can finally take a breather. 

Until I can get everything in check, you may follow me on Twitter (@TheStellaTorres) for regular updates. Thanks! 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Long Time Coming (Or: A Crushes Of Yore Megapost)

I know, it has been weeks since I last updated this blog, and I wish I had some stories to tell from my absence (don't worry, there's some good news in there) but for the most part it's been an emotional roller-coaster for me. Cliche'd though it may be, there's no better way of describing it from my end. I hope to share more good news with you in the future. 

For now, however, I must share this...

It is with great sorrow that I am announcing my conscious uncoupling from Jeremy Renner.


I would like to say that it was a tough decision on my part, but honestly? Secret babies only work for pirates and Greek tycoons, and unless you wanted to play one any time soon (which you obviously won't) I don't see this whole thing working out for us at all. And not to sound like an ungrateful nagging wife, but COME ON Y U NO GET NOMINATED FOR AMERICAN HUSTLE? Because, really, what would it really take for you to be that likable again without shooting arrows at Loki's henchmen? And don't tell me I have to wait for this, because life's too short to wait for you to play the same cards that Matthew McConaughey did with the Academy. It says a lot that I might cast a vote for Benedict Cumberbatch over you. Yes, the same Benedict Cumberbatch that you've been jealous of ever since you found that USB drive full of Sherlock episodes in my possession.

Look, no derp-face! (Taken from the set of the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game)

And speaking of jealousy, what the hell did you think you were doing when I caught you looking through that folder of David Gandy photos in my browser?

Aha! So you thought that I was going to post something from that NSFW Dolce & Gabbana book, were you? 

There's more, so much more, but there's so much drama that a girl can take from her guy, and sometimes the kindest thing that one can do in this situation is to cut bait. And so: Parting as friends, respect our privacy, difficult time blah blah blah. Thank you for all your support.

(But seriously, girls, he's all yours. Or at least until he has groveled enough for my satisfaction.)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Which Choice Would You Take?

You may be wondering why there has been nothing but radio silence from my end for the last few days. Well, here's my chance to tell my story.

Some of you who have followed me on Twitter would know that I was writing a story for a project that got me excited for a whole month. It was an exciting opportunity, and I tweeted about it actively while I was writing. When the opportunity came to publish, I was ready to take it seriously: lining up an editor, looking for cover illustrators, all that jazz.

Then the deadline came... and it came as a shock.

There was no way I could get my work done as perfectly as possible for that deadline. I already have enough deadlines as it is as a graduate student - why should I complicate it further by forcing myself to turn in rushed product as a writer? Don't get me wrong, I loved that story a lot and I worked with some amazing beta readers to help me polish it. But a polished product is a polished product, and I couldn't do it while working on my academic deadlines at the same time.

I won't deny that I was angry and sad for a long time, and I probably depressed the hell out of my friends while I vented and ranted about the unfairness of it all. Then one day, I woke up, and I realized that what I had in my hands was an answered prayer.

For the longest time - for as long as I've been writing - I've been driven by the need to have my work be validated and recognized by others. I'm not going to lie, it's a personality flaw, but it's a flaw that has fueled my career, and it has brought me to the point where I was able to get myself self-published. For that I will be grateful, and nothing will be able to take that away from me.

What I didn't do was stop and think.

People did look up to me as a published writer, but I was always at my laptop thinking more, more, more - more readers, more legitimacy, more recognition. My writing was my lifeline, after all, and yet I was honestly not as happy as a writer as I was when I was still writing. I wanted to be part of the table with the popular ones, yet at the same time I still didn't belong there because I didn't work hard enough.

In my own way, I became resentful.

So when the time came, and I had to choose, I ended up choosing my academics over my writing, even though I knew that it was going to be more stressful. Why? Because it was the only way for me to get out of my own way.

I'm not going to go all Frozen on all of you and sing let it go, let it go,because that would be a cliche. Nor will I tell you that this is my way of finding my genuine self, because this isn't the right time to be touchy-feely about that sort of thing. What I can say, however, was that I had a better offer for my time on the academic side - and that offer was something that couldn't be put off for too long.

As my friend Scribeymom recently said to me, deadlines are only for papers and journalists. And the academic paper that I had to write was an opportunity that may never come my way again.

Sometimes we have to accept that the right opportunity will come at the right time, on better terms and conditions. Sometimes we have to accept the fact that we have to choose the path that leads to the least amount of heartbreak, because we'll always get our hearts broken no matter where we go. This is not to say that we should give up what we love altogether; come to think about it, it should strengthen our resolve, give us the chance to pick up where we left off and start over again. But sometimes we have to admit that our fears come from wanting too much and not giving enough.

Sometimes all it takes is to get out of your own way.