Sassy romance with a dose of new release alerts and book recommendations.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Excerpt | Making It Complicated (I Heart Iloilo #2) by Clarisse David

Hi, guys!

In case you missed it, Making It Complicated (I Heart Iloilo #2). is now available for pre-order. You can purchase your copy HERE.

Since you can't see a preview of a book on Amazon before release day, I thought I'd share the first chapter with you--to give you a sneak peek of what the book is about.


Here we go.

Chapter One

"You're pretty when you try."

The words hit me like a vicious wave of saltwater. I squinted to get a better look at Paul Hidalgo, his face framed by pink and purple neon lights from the stage behind him and the blanket of night beyond it. My arms which had been moving in rhythm with the music pulsing around us stilled.

We met last year and somehow ended up at the same outdoor party in Boracay this summer. He was beautiful in the preppy, rich boy way I liked. Hair styled to perfection, expensive silver watch on his wrist, and a body perfected in a gym with a monthly membership fee that would make you weep.

I would've called it kismet until five months ago.

When I still believed in such things.

Now, it was just another night in a string of nights that made my nineteenth year an epic disaster.

Of its own accord, my hand reached up and pushed against Paul’s chest, causing him to stumble on his over-worked legs. His ass landed on the damp sand with an unsatisfying thump. A circle of onlookers formed around us.

“What the hell, Cam?” Paul pushed himself up off the ground, his yellow board shorts and legs now covered in sand.

“Are you saying I need to try to be pretty?” My voice rose above the remixed pop song to which we were dancing. The wind whipped my short hair around my face, and I let it. “Well, you’re a decent human being…when you try. The rest of the time, you’re a waste of perfectly good oxygen.”

I whirled around to leave, ready to push my way through the crowd of gyrating bodies, but Paul’s hand wrapped itself around my arm and tugged me back. My feet slid against the soft sand.

“You don’t get to walk away after pulling something like that.” Paul’s grip tightened. “Who do you think you are?”

“I’m Camille Velasco, the girl who’s going to make you regret it if you don’t let go of my arm.”
I pulled. He refused to budge.

I made a mental note to steer clear of preppy, rich boys in the future as I grabbed a beer bottle out of a dancing Korean girl’s hand an arm’s length away. Her eyes flew open. She tried to make a grab for the bottle, but she was too late.

I reached up and tipped the remaining liquid over Paul’s head. Beer splashed over the glorious hair I had wanted to run my fingers through less than five minutes ago. Strands stuck in clumps to his forehead. The golden liquid dripped down his nose and rendered his white designer T-shirt transparent.

Before he could react, I slipped out of his loosened hold and pushed my way through the crowd, one dancing, sweaty body after another. A mix of catcalls, howls, and a few boos followed my wake. To be honest, I was more scared of the girl I’d stolen the beer from than anything Paul was capable of.

Hell hath no fury like a girl whose liquor had been wasted.

I made my way to the drinks booth, placed my money on the counter, and waited for my poison of choice—an ice-cold rum coke with a bendy straw—to be served. Not wanting more bad karma sent my way, I pointed out the girl from earlier and asked that another beer be sent to her. Behind me, a gigantic green and orange balloon plastered with the party’s sponsor’s logo hovered in mid-air.

The music continued to swirl around me, and all I wanted to do was lose myself in the neon lights that flashed behind my eyelids every time I blinked a little too long. As I sipped my drink, I tipped my face up to the night sky and the palm trees swaying above me.

I wanted the recklessness that came after a few drinks too many.

I wanted oblivion.

I wanted—

Anything but a phone call from my best friend. My phone vibrated as Melissa Ortiz’s face smiled up at me from the screen, bright and blinding with a white lace headband around her mane of perfect hair. I stuffed it into the pocket of my denim shorts and hoped that this time she wouldn’t be so damn persistent.

No such luck.

My phone stayed still for a beat but vibrated again right away. I sighed. Sipping my drink, I walked away from the party to a spot near the water where I wouldn’t have to scream into my phone. Once nestled beside a towering sandcastle, I answered the call. “Miss me already?”

“I know, I know, you’re on a paradise island surrounded by a ton of shirtless guys,” Melissa said, her tone sounding almost wistful. “You don’t have time to talk to me.”

I have all the time in the world. I just don’t have anything to say.

Melissa and her boyfriend, Lance, had been together for over a year, and they were still text-you-good-morning and no-you-hang-up-first in love. Maybe it shouldn’t have been surprising once I took her angelic face, fairy princess wardrobe, and spine of steel into consideration.

I wanted to be happy for her.

Truly, I did.

But a huge part of me didn’t believe in the same things she did anymore, in finding such utter bliss with another person and trusting they weren’t going to rip you apart. I didn’t have the energy for that.

Not after everything.

“Of course I do. I always have time to talk to you.” The words sounded fake even to me.

“Really, Cam?”

“Really, Mel.” I stretched my legs out, getting comfortable. On the other line, I could hear conversations buzzing around my best friend and the notes of a jazz song. “You still aren’t home? Look at you still out by 9:30. Hasn’t your father called the cops yet?”

“I’m with Lance,” Melissa said, practically giggling. “Papa trusts him now. A little.”

I listened to her talk about the life I ran from so desperately back in Iloilo City—all our classmates’ college plans and the get-togethers they had scheduled throughout the summer. I didn’t want to be a part of any of it.

This island, small and tourist-filled, was going to be my home. At least, for a little while.

Before me, water stretched out in the darkness as far as the eye could see, seemingly endless with a boat or two breaking up the monotony. Behind me, restaurants and bars lined the beachfront. They beckoned customers with flashy advertisements of promos for drinks and delicious meals. Korean, English, and all sorts of languages filled the air.

Being here made me believe I could peel off the old Cam like a second skin and become someone completely new.

“Cam, are you still there?” Mel’s worried voice snapped me back to reality.

I sighed. “Yeah, I’m here. Sounds like you have the whole summer figured out.”

“It won’t be the same without you, though,” Mel replied, and I could tell she meant it.

I closed my eyes, my fingers clenching tighter around my phone. Her sincerity almost made me sit up straight and chuck my phone into the sea.

It was so easy for Mel to say that things weren’t going to be the same without me. Didn’t she realize that nothing was ever going to be the same for me? Resentment filled my chest, threatening to swallow me whole, even if I knew it was wrong to feel that way.

“Mel, I have to go.” I hung up before I could say something the two of us would regret.

And that was the moment I chose to open my eyes and found a guy staring down at me.

Instinct took over. My palm closed around a handful of sand, which I hurled to his face. Sand rained down on the two of us. I sat up straight so fast, he stepped back and tripped on his feet.

The guy collapsed on the sandcastle beside me. Its fancy turrets crashed around him in a barrage of powder and sandy clumps. As the crashing waves almost drowned out his muttered curses, I slid away from him on my hands and feet. My pulse raced as I rose up on unsteady legs, ready to get the hell out of there and get some help.

“Don’t you remember me?” He wiped away sand from his mouth with the back of his hand.

Our eyes met, and my pulse slowed. I took in the messy faux-hawk, the deep-set eyes that looked at me with confusion, like I was a song he’d forgotten the lyrics to. His mouth, one that belonged on a movie star, curled up at one corner. If I hadn’t decided to stop taking photos, I would’ve wanted to capture his face right there and then, with the moonlight highlighting his stark angles.

I knew him in the vaguest sense of the word.

Hunter Alvarez, the guy Melissa sort of dated before she and Lance became official. Like a brief stop-over before the actual destination.

Second boy to fall at my feet in one night.

For all the wrong reasons.

I was on a roll.

“It’s a good thing you and Mel never actually got together,” I found myself saying.

Still sprawled on top of the ruined sandcastle, Hunter’s eye’s widened. “Why?”

“You have that serial killer vibe.” Sometimes, my mouth refused to take orders from my brain and went on solo missions.

To my surprise, Hunter threw back his head and laughed. “I’m not a serial killer.”

“Exactly what a serial killer would say.” I stood up, finger-combing sand out of my hair.

Hunter stood up too. He stretched his arms over his head to let me see I hadn’t done much damage, his Ramones T-shirt riding up to reveal a sliver of a six-pack that made my fingers itch to touch. I refused to look away. What was the point? Life was too short to not appreciate a hot guy on a sultry, summer night.

He glanced up at me. It was suddenly very clear to me that we were on a booze-laden island, and that I found him very attractive, despite his history with my best friend. He didn’t look like the kind of guy who worked out in a gym. No, he looked like a guy who got muscle definition from hammering…things, deliciously sweaty all the while.

When he stared down at the remains of the sandcastle, a furrow formed between his brows. “I wanted to take a photo for Tessa.”

“Your girlfriend?” Asking such a transparent question was a rookie mistake, but I failed to stop myself in time.

The look in Hunter’s eyes told me he was aware of the electricity coming to life between us. One corner of my lip turned up in cocky answer.

Hunter bridged the distance between us in a few, quick steps. “No, my little sister.”
My defenses went up as fast as a camera’s shutters snapping shut. Guys who took photos of sandcastles for their little sisters were sweet. I didn’t do sweet.

“Oh.” I backed up a few steps. “That’s nice.”

“Nice?” He rolled the word around his tongue, like he was testing it, then smiled. “That doesn’t sound like a compliment coming from you.”

It was my turn to toss my head back and laugh. “You’d be surprised how nice I can be.”
We drank each other in, the air between us heavy with the possibilities the night held. There were so many things I wanted but refused to let myself have—especially not with this guy who thought of his little sister when getting drunk and partying should’ve been easier in this place. I broke eye contact first and glanced at the glittering row of bars behind me.

But Hunter grasped at our connection and pulled. “Show me.”

“What?” My eyes snapped back to his.

“Tonight. Show me how nice you can be,” Hunter said, his easy smile belying the weight of his words, the dimple on his cheek a warning sign he was trouble.

I raised one perfectly shaped eyebrow. “You’re not getting in my pants, if that’s what you’re thinking.”

His eyes dropped to my tiny denim shorts. His shoulders shook with laughter. When his eyes met mine again, mischief glittered in them. “I’m sure your pants are amazing, but I’ve been stuck in a hotel room with three bandmates—one never stops sleeping, the other can’t stop admiring his own reflection, and the last one keeps locking himself in the bathroom to call his mother. I need a break. You seem like a great person to take the break with.”

“You’re saying you just need someone to show you around?” Something that seemed a lot like disappointment settled in my chest.

“Yes.” He nodded, the easy smile never wavering. “Will you give me tonight?”

Monday, October 9, 2017

Cover Reveal | Making It Complicated (I Heart Iloilo #2) by Clarisse David

It's cover reveal day for Making It Complicated, the second book in my I Heart Iloilo series. Honestly, you guys, I'm so excited to share the cover with you.

Nelle and Ric, an actual real life couple, agreed to be on the cover, and it was designed by my friend Daniel Tinagan, also the same guy who designed the cover for Keeping the Distance. The very kind Lola of Lola's Blog Tours agreed to organize the whole cover reveal for me.

Are you ready to see it?





Here it is!

The book is now available for preorder here:

Here's the summary:

No promises. No expectations. Just one night on a paradise island that could mean everything.

Nineteen-year-old Cam has a metric ton of emotional baggage and is in no mood to unload them on anyone. After her parents' marriage imploded, stress-free is the only way she wants her life to be. And what could be more freeing than spending the summer on Boracay? Absolutely nothing... until she bumps heads with Hunter, the hot drummer who screams incoming heartbreak from a mile away.

Hunter has grand plans, none of which include angry-at-the-world Cam, best friend to the girl he always thought he'd end up with. He likes his life steady, thank you very much. But steady has now become synonymous with boring. His grand plans don't seem so grand anymore. So when Cam comes home to Iloilo City and reaches out to him, he surprises himself when the one answer he can think of is... yes. Definitely yes.

Sometimes, complications are the only things that make sense.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Cover Reveal | Like Nobody's Watching by Tara Frejas #ProjectPio

Today's the cover reveal for Like Nobody's Watching by Tara Frejas, and I'm so psyched to show you guys this gorgeous cover. You'll be even more excited to read the book after you see it.

Are you ready?!?!

Here it is:

And because we all need a closer look at Pio:

Like Nobody’s Watching by Tara Frejas

Genre: Contemporary Romance / NA
Release Date: October 24, 2017
Book Cover Design: Miles Tan
Photography: Chi Yu Rodriguez
Model: Fred Lo


It's all fun and games until someone catches feelings.

If there's something Pio Alvez is good at, it's pretending to be someone he's not. On stage and on-screen, the actor has mastered the art of becoming the characters he plays, and his new role should be no different. After all, how difficult would it be to pretend to be smitten with a beautiful, intelligent go-getter like Audrey Alonzo?

Perhaps it's more difficult pretending not to be.

Add Like Nobody’s Watching on Goodreads
Pre-order Like Nobody’s Watching on Amazon

About the Author

Tara Frejas is a cloud-walker who needs caffeine to fuel her travels. When she’s not on work mode, she keeps herself busy by weaving her daydreams into stories.

Aside from her obvious love affair with words and persistent muses, Tara is very passionate about being caffeinated, musical theatre, certain genres of music, dancing, dogs, good food, and romancing Norae, her ukelele. She owns a male bunny named Max who sometimes tries to nibble on her writing notes.

Fun fact: She's a Piscean. Go figure.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Favorites | September 2017

So far, out of all the months in 2017, September is the one that feels like it ended in the blink of an eye the most. Maybe it was because I was scrambling to get a book ready at the same time I had to face a lot of challenges in my personal life. Haven't we all felt like that at one point or another?

Anyway, October has just started, and I thought it would be a good idea to look back on the things I enjoyed in September. Whether it's music or TV shows or books, you just might find something interesting in this post.

Let's get started.


BTS released a new album in September called Love Yourself: Her, and I basically haven't stopped listening to it since. They explored a ton of new sounds in this album, but somehow still managed to sound like themselves. "Go Go" and "MIC Drop" are my favorite songs from the album. "Pied Piper" is also pretty close to my heart, mostly because the boys know the fans spend way too much time fangirling. Haha.

In case you were wondering, my bias is Min Yoongi a.k.a. Suga.

Books & Writing

I didn't get a lot of reading done September, because I was busy editing Making It Complicated. However, I did finish and learned so much from Romancing the Beats: Story Structure for Romance Novels by Gwen Hayes.

Most books I read about plot and story structure only tackle how a character can get from Point A to Point B by the end of the story. This book, however, talks about how to do it with two characters--your Main Character and Love Interest--and how to make sure their journeys are weaved together seamlessly, which almost always has to be the case when you're writing romance.

I highly recommend this book if you're in the mood to learn more about writing romance, especially novellas since the story structure discussed in this book is perfect for the format.

Movies & TV

Elementary has been on my radar for a while now, but I always turned up my nose at it, believing that Sherlock would be the superior show. I WAS WRONG. Sometimes, I make stupid choices, okay? I'm human. I'm sorry.

After watching several episodes of Elementary, I was surprised to discover that I liked it more than Sherlock for a variety of reasons. First of all, Elementary's version of Sherlock Holmes feels more human and vulnerable. I also love that John Watson was transformed into Joan Watson, a woman of color, in the show and that it has a more diverse cast in general.

Lifestyle & Fashion

I am not the most fashionable person around. In fact, my personal style is more focused on efficiency and comfort than on being trendy, so you will most likely see very few clothing recommendations in this section. Haha. You've been warned.

In September, my friend, Kate, wanted to buy a jacket, so I tagged along with her to Surplus. Suddenly, lo and behold, I laid eyes on this grandfather-ish cardigan and fell head over heels for it right away. Yes, it's as comfortable as it looks, and I'd wear it everyday if I could get away with it. Wearing it feels like you have a blanket wrapped around you. I kid you not.

Get notified when Making It Complicated is released!

Hey, you!

Making It Complicated (I Heart Iloilo #2) is coming out on October 16, 2017. If you'd like to get notified when it's available for purchase, please sign up to my newsletter. I won't spam you, I swear.


Great! You can sign up right here:

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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Making It Complicated (I Heart Iloilo #2) Q&A

The other day, I found this super helpful article full of blog posts ideas for authors. I thought I'd give some of them a try, starting with a Q&A about my upcoming book, Making It Complicated (I Heart Iloilo #2).

1) What is Making It Complicated (I Heart Iloilo #2) about?

I'm very tempted to just post a link to the book's Goodreads page, since it contains the summary and other relevant information, but that won't do for the purpose of this blog post Haha.

So, let me think for a second.

*starts thinking*

*thinks some more*

Okay, I think I'm ready.

Making It Complicated is about how Cam and Hunter, two very different people, meet in Boracay one night, their adventures on the island, and everything that happens after they go back to "real life."

It explores how knowing the time you're spending with someone is limited affects your behavior and makes you more or less vulnerable. There's also a bunch of stuff about friendship, dealing with difficult family issues, and kissing. Definitely kissing.

And abs.

I'm not explaining this very well, am I? Haha.

2) Did you start with the story or with the characters?

Cam and Hunter were supporting characters in Keeping the Distance (I Heart Iloilo #1), so Making It Complicated definitely started with the characters.

The idea of the two of them being together never occurred to me until I was almost finished writing the first draft of Keeping the Distance. By that time, I knew I wanted to write a series of books set in Iloilo City, my hometown, but I didn't know who the next book would be about. JacexCam and an entirely new couple were two of my options, but neither felt right.

Then, in one scene in Keeping the Distance, Cam sort of put Hunter in his place, and I thought, "Hey. These two could actually work."

3) What led you to write it?

Somehow, I just found the idea of Cam and Hunter together interesting. He's very boy-next-door-in-a-band, while she's the type of girl who eats guys like him for breakfast.

Then, I remembered the four tropes Ms. Mina V. Esguerra assigned to us when I joined #buqoYA, an online young adult romance writing class she taught back in 2015. For one of the tropes, the story had to take place in one day, and choosing the right setting was key in ensuring your story was interesting. I'd been assigned a different trope at the time (enemies-to-lovers which resulted in Prom Queen Perfect), but One Day Together struck a chord with me.

I wanted to give it a try.

For the setting, I initially considered Cebu, because I went canyoneering there in March last year, but I ended up wanting to write about a place closer to home (Boracay).

4) What authors or stories inspire you as a writer? (i.e., who are the authors or stories that, if I like their stories, I will probably also like your stories?)

My fellow #romanceclass writers definitely inspire me. I'm in awe of how amazing their books are (both in presentation and content) and how they find new ways to keep pushing the envelope in the romance genre.

So, that's it for today's Q&A. If you have any questions you'd like me to answer in a future blog post, feel free to let me know on Twitter. I'm honestly a little stumped about what kind of posts to write for this blog, so I welcome all suggestions.

Get notified when Making It Complicated is released!

Hey, you!

If you'd like to receive my monthly newsletter which usually contains updates about my writing projects and recommendations to stuff you might enjoy, or get notified whenever I release a new book, please sign up to my newsletter. I won't spam you, I swear.


Great! You can sign up right here:

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Making It Complicated (I Heart Iloilo #2) by Clarisse David | ARC and Cover Reveal Signup Forms

Hi, guys!

So, Making It Complicated (I Heart Iloilo #2) will be released soon, and I'd really appreciate it if you help me promote the book or maybe even grab a copy of it once it's available for purchase.

If you're interested, I have three options for you.

1. Request an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

You can get the chance to read the book before everyone else does by signing up right here. All I ask for in exchange is an honest review. I'll send the ARCs on the 30th of September, and it would be great if reviews could be up by the book's release date (October 16, 2017).

2. Sign up for the cover reveal.

Lola is kindly organizing the cover reveal which will be on October 9, 2017 for me. You don't need a blog to sign up.

If you have a Twitter, Instagram, or even a Facebook account, you can participate in the cover reveal by signing up here.

3. Get notified when the book is available for preorder.

The book is scheduled to be available for preorder on October 9, 2017, the same date as the cover reveal. Yay! If you're too busy to read the ARC or sign up for the cover reveal, you can still purchase the book once it's out.

I'll be happy to notify you just in case you forget. You can sign up for my newsletter here. I promise I'm not spamming you or selling your email address, and I only send the newsletter once a month and it will always be full of exclusive content like news about my upcoming books, excerpts, and so much more.

Anyway, I'm super excited about this book, and I can't wait to find out what you guys think of it. The past year has been so stressful, but I'm glad we're all still here, reading and writing and basically still in awe of words and how magical they are.

Thank you for everything!


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

3 Ways to Market Your Romance Novel in Person

This weekend, a friend introduced me to someone who could possibly help market my romance novels. Instead of telling him about my work, I just... blanked.

It was mortifying, but honestly, that wasn't the first time I was rendered incapable of speech when someone mentioned my writing. In fact, it has happened several times.

I'm probably not the only writer who has experienced this, because most of us are introverts. (Understatement of the year.) Like the evil mastermind that I am, I decided to be more prepared the next time I have to market my books in person.

Hopefully, what I've come up with can help you too.

1. Prepare an elevator pitch.

In my very corporate day job, we were taught to have an elevator pitch ready for whenever we meet clients. It basically sums up who you are and what you do.

For example, an elevator pitch for my day job would go like this: Hi. I'm Something Something, and I handle a team of 15 people for the Something Something account.

My author elevator pitch could be: Hi! I'm Clarisse David, a young adult and new adult romance author. I'm working on I Heart Iloilo, a series of YA/NA romantic comedy novels set in Iloilo City.

See? Quick. Relatively easy.

Some might say that having a rehearsed speech might hinder you from having a more natural interaction, but that’s better than no interaction at all. So far, I’ve noticed that starting to talk about your writing is the hardest hurdle, but once you get past it, things get so much easier.

As a result, I highly recommend starting with an elevator pitch.

2. Get yourself some business cards.

I’m not just talking about boring business cards that could be anyone’s.

Your business card essentially represents you, so it should look like, you know, you. If you’re already using a specific color scheme for your website and social media accounts, you can use the same one for your business card.

Better yet, MAKE SURE to use the same colors and fonts. Why? Because your business card is an extension of your author brand.

Aside from your name and number, it should also contain links to your website as well as to the social media account you use the most. If it’s Twitter, include your Twitter username alongside the Twitter icon, so people know where to look. The same goes for Instagram, Facebook, etc.

When we get nervous while talking to someone for the first time, there’s a tendency that we’re going to forget important details. Like where they can buy our books. Having a business card solves that for you. No matter what you may have forgotten during the conversation, the person you gave the business card to knows how to contact you and can later get the information they need.

3. Know that there are jerks aplenty in the world.

Romance novels are totally my jam. I love reading, writing, and shouting to the world in general about them.

But there are plenty of people who look down on the romance genre because it’s “not literary enough” or are “written and read by desperate women who can’t get themselves boyfriends/husbands.” UGH.

Listen, I’m not telling you to be on the defensive all the time, because that would be exhausting. You’re amazing. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.

I am, however, telling you to not be naïve. There’s a huge chance you’ll encounter several people like this in your lifetime (even though I sincerely hope you don’t), and you should know how to deal with them, so they don’t take you by surprise and get the better of you.

Here are some responses you can use:

Scenario #1:

Random Person: You don’t have a boyfriend, so where did you get the inspiration for your romance novel?

Wonderful Romance Writer: I’m sure the author of that thriller novel you love so much isn’t actually a serial killer in real life. *insert smile here*

Scenario #2:

Random Person: Aren’t all romance novels the same? They all have happy endings.

Wonderful Romance Writer: And that only makes them more amazing. You know how they end, but they still surprise you in one way or another whenever you read them.

Personally, I think sarcasm and kindness are necessary when dealing with people like this. Sarcasm to let them know that you won’t take snide remarks about your books lying down. Constructive criticism and mean comments are different, after all. Kindness because these people might not like this thing you’re super passionate about and that’s okay too.


Marketing your books in person is hard. I know. Online, we have quote graphics, retweets, and purchase links to help us out. In person, all we have are... ourselves. You know what? That's more enough.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Next Release | I Heart Iloilo #2 Title and Blurb Reveal


I have two exciting things to share with you today, namely the title and blurb for the 2nd book in the I Heart Iloilo series. *throws confetti*

Are you ready? Are you excited?

I'm going to pretend I heard you say yes to both questions.

Without further ado, here are the details about my next book:
Making It Complicated (I Heart Iloilo #2) by Clarisse David

Release Date: October 16, 2017

No promises. No expectations. Just one night on a paradise island that could mean everything.

Nineteen-year-old Cam has a metric ton of emotional baggage and is in no mood to unload them on anyone. After her parents' marriage imploded, stress-free is the only way she wants her life to be. And what could be more freeing than spending the summer on Boracay? Absolutely nothing... until she bumps heads with Hunter, the hot drummer who screams incoming heartbreak from a mile away.

Hunter has grand plans, none of which include angry-at-the-world Cam, best friend to the girl he always thought he'd end up with. He likes his life steady, thank you very much. But steady has now become synonymous with boring. His grand plans don't seem so grand anymore. So when Cam comes home to Iloilo City and reaches out to him, he surprises himself when the one answer he can think of is... yes. Definitely yes.

Sometimes, complications are the only things that make sense.

What do you think? I honestly can't wait to unleash this book on the world, because so far, it's been the hardest book I've ever written. More raw than anything I've tried to write before.

Also, if you're still reading at this point, thank you so much! I appreciate it. Don't forget to add the book on Goodreads right here.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Next Release | I Heart Iloilo # 2

Can you believe it's the last day of May?

I sure can't. This is going to sound like such a total cliche, but it feels like 2017 is flying by, flapping sounds and all.

Before June officially starts, I wanted to give you an update about what I'm working on and what to expect from me in the future. Cool?

The second novel in the I Heart Iloilo series is currently in the editing stage, and I hope to release it by the first or second week of October. The title and blurb will most likely be ready by mid-June. Stay tuned! While you're waiting, you can add the book to your Goodreads TBR right here.

Yes, it's going to be about Hunter and Cam. You can expect plenty of Boracay scenes, a rowdy bunch of boys, and a ton of complications. Sounds fun, right? I'm going to pretend I heard you say yes. Haha.

I'm also in the middle of writing the first draft for the third book in the I Heart Iloilo series. I originally had this very specific idea in mind for the book, but it's not working out. The good thing is, I know how to fix it, so I'll get it done before the end of June. Probably. Online accountability always helps.

If you have any questions, you can contact me via email at clarissedavidwrites[@]yahoo[.]com or on Twitter.

Thank you!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Cover Reveal | Feels Like Summer (Summer Storm #2) by Six de los Reyes

Today is the cover reveal for Feels like Summer by Six de los Reyes. *throws confetti*

Full disclosure: I read and absolutely loved Beginner's Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions by Six de los Reyes. Kaya is one of my favorite heroines ever, and I wouldn't mind finding a Nero of my own. Ahem.

Before I start fangirling over the book, let me show you the cover of Feels like Summer.

Without further ado, here it is:

Isn't it pretty?

I'm going to pretend I heard you say yes.

If you're curious about the book, there's more good stuff below, like the blurb and actual purchase links. *wink. wink. nudge. nudge*

Feels like Summer (Summer Storm #2)

by Six de los Reyes
Release date: April 12, 2017
In print: April 30, 2017


Five-minute girlfriend. This is what Jett signs up for when she meets Adrian and his band Arabella at beach music festival Summer Storm. One kiss and the attraction is too electric to ignore, but Jett has no room for love and Adrian is Mr. Relationship who's getting over his recent breakup. The solution? Keep it simple. Keep it casual. For three months (that's the rule about breakups, right?), Jett helps Adrian move on and Adrian shows up on Jett's bed whenever she wants.

Then the three months are up and neither of them are in a hurry to be the first to leave. Does Jett walk away from a potential disaster or does she finally let someone into her closely-guarded heart?

Buy Links

Print (PH only)

Add it on Goodreads

Cover design by: Porcupine Strongwill

Follow Six de los Reyes:
Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Wattpad: @sixdlr

Author Bio:

Six de los Reyes has been reading and making up stories for as far as she can remember. In fifth grade, she learned to write about the stories she wanted to read. As a pretend grownup, she writes contemporary romance novels. Her day job doing science has something to do with being a part-time mermaid and a part-time labrat. She currently lives next to the sea.

Other works include:
Just for the Record
Beginner’s Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions
Sounds Like Summer

Anthology Contributions:
After the Moment, Taking Chances (#BuqoYA)
Nico Saves Christmas, Make My Wish Come True
Ocean Eyes, Summer Crush

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

How I Sold 50 Indie Print Copies of Keeping the Distance

This news is two months late, but I just wanted to share that Keeping the Distance (I Heart Iloilo Book 1) now has a print edition. *throws confetti*

For the first "official" print run, I decided to start small and ended up selling fifty copies, which is honestly more than I expected.

First of all, I only accepted orders from readers in Iloilo. That way, I gave myself the chance to build a local audience, generating interest in the romance genre by promoting a book set in the readers' hometown.

Who knows? Maybe that audience might like my book and decide to check out other #romanceclass authors I talk about on my author Facebook page and on my personal profile.

Next, shipping orders to readers outside of Iloilo required time I didn't have back in February and March. So many things were going in both my personal and professional lives that I couldn't set aside the required number of hours to process everything.

So, let me recap. I decided to start small... by focusing on Iloilo. Here's how I did it:

1. Before I even posted that I was selling the print edition, I shared Instagram and Twitter posts from readers on my wall as well as quotes from Keeping the Distance.

This worked in many ways, because some of my Facebook friends didn't even know I'd written a book. A few of them sent me messages asking where they could read it or how they could buy it. I replied right away and informed them that a print edition was already in the works.

Generating interest? Check.

2. I posted photos of the print copy and detailed order instructions on my author Facebook page, shared the post on my timeline, and asked friends to share it as well.

Before I go into detail about the whole order and confirmation process, let me tell you about my friend. His name is Dan. He designs T-shirts, mugs, and other merch under his brand BKNWA. His page now has over 27,000 likes and people from all over the Philippines order stuff from him... via Facebook Messenger.

I initially wanted to use a Google Doc form to receive orders, but he pointed out that using an order form people could copy and paste and send through Facebook Messenger gave me one additional advantage. People didn't have to leave Facebook to order my book. They could even order it on free Facebook data. Awesome.

In the future, I intend to use a Google Doc form and Facebook Messenger to receive orders, but since this was a trial run, I decided to go with it.

So, basically, if someone wanted to order a book from me, they could send my Facebook author page a message with the following information:
Complete Name
Facebook Name
Contact Number
Number of Copies
And they had to send it to me before a specific deadline. I posted a timeline as well, so people knew until when they could order copies and when they were getting the books. Here's the timeline I included in my post:
FEBRUARY 23 - MARCH 1 (Taking Orders)
FEBRUARY 28 - MARCH 1 (Order Finalization)
MARCH 2 - MARCH 15 (Printing of Books)
MARCH 23 - MARCH 24 (Release Date / Local Meetups)
As much as possible, I tried to stick to the timeline, because this first print run would set expectations on how I ran things. I didn't want people to say that they got their books late or that I was hard to contact.

3. Once I started taking orders for print copies, I kept posting about the book.

It would take about a month for the readers to get their copies since I still had to get the books printed and shipped from JMD Copy and Prints in Marikina. I didn't want them to forget they ordered the book and wanted to build excitement.

Even after I stopped taking orders, I still posted updates about it. When the 50 copies were finally delivered to our house, I made sure to take a video of me opening the package, so people would know they were getting their books VERY SOON.

4. I met up with readers at a local coffee shop.

This was one of my favorite parts of the entire process. I got to thank the people who bought my book in person and even signed their copies for them. Really one of the best things about being an author, indie or otherwise.

And that's how I sold 50 copies in month.

I know 50 copies doesn't sound like much in the grand scheme of things, but if you're an indie author, it means a lot. 50 copies means 50 different people who'll leaf through pages filled with your words. 50 different people who supported your dream and took a chance on you.

This whole experience definitely taught me a lot about time management, which social media platforms I should focus on, and a ton of other things. I could've done better throughout this whole process, but I hope this post still helps you if you want embark on your own self-publishing journey and sell print copies of your books. Good luck!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Playlist | Keeping the Distance by Clarisse David

Ever wanted to listen to a playlist while reading a book?

Like Keeping the Distance, for instance? (Hey, that rhymes!)

Okay, enough with the cheesy attempts to reel you in. Haha. Today, I'm going to share the playlist I listened to while working on Keeping the Distance. Over and over. The playlist is honestly a little weird with its mix of pop, country, and indie. (Wait, is Lauv considered indie? I'm sorry. My lack of music knowledge is showing.)

Time to press play.


1. "Ugly Heart" by G.R.L.

This is basically the soundtrack to every scene where Lance acts like a huge asshole in the beginning of the book.

2. "One Night" by Matthew Koma

I can't remember a specific scene I wrote while listening to this song, but it reminds me of Lance. A lot. In ways that aren't positive. Do with that knowledge what you will.

3. "Reforget" by Lauv

When they both try to move on.

4. "Secret Love Song" by Little Mix

This is basically Lance and Melissa's theme song when they try to hide their relationship from her father, from everyone.

While I was writing Keeping the Distance, this song was EVERYWHERE. I honestly got a little sick of it, but I couldn't stop listening to it because it was so perfect. Writers are weird, I know.

5. "Perfect" by One Direction

This is just a very Lance-ish song.

And, yes, I'm still sad that One Direction is no more.

6. "Love Me Like You Mean It" by Kelsea Ballerini

This, I imagine, is Melissa's song for Lance before they actually get together, during that wonderful stage where she's having second thoughts about him. It's kind of perfect.

7. "Dibs" by Kelsea Ballerini

When you fall for that gorgeous, popular boy everyone else seems to want, what do you do? You call dibs. Haha. Sometimes, I lamely attempt to make jokes.

8. "For a Boy" by RaeLynn

If you've read Keeping the Distance, remember that scene where Mel records a ukulele cover for Lance and ends up playing it for him as her grand gesture? In my head, this is the song she played.

It's perfect for the two of them, because the song talks about all the things this boy does for the girl. She wants to do things for him too--little things, big things, doesn't matter--but she's afraid or maybe a little hesitant. At the end of the song, I think she breaks through her fear or hesitation or whatever is stopping her and goes for it. Kind of like Mel.

Bonus Playlist

If you wanted to listen to another playlist, the wonderful Sue made a playlist for Keeping the Distance right here. She has wonderful taste in music, and even if you have no intention of reading the book, I still highly recommending listening to it. Two enthusiastic thumbs up!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Excerpt | Waiting in the Wings by Tara Frejas

Waiting in the Wings
by Tara Frejas
Genre: Romance / NA / Contemporary
Release Date: February 21, 2017


At twenty-three, theatre actress Erin Javier has yet to fall in love or kiss a boy offstage, away from the klieg lights. She is the perfect leading lady—whose heart men would fight for, win, and protect—unfortunately, only until the curtains fall and the lights go down. In real life, Erin is a certified NBSB whose heart has been hoping for a song to dance to for quite some time.

But when two (two!) men enter from stage left and right, Erin is confused. Who deserves to take center stage in her heart—Mr. Theatre Royalty whose attention and displays of affection make her pulse race, or a good friend whose steady support has helped steer her to success and fulfill her dream?



Erin’s first kiss was a guy named Timothy Matias.

She and Timothy—christened Mots by Kai—were both Teatro Lakambini rookies three years ago, and Chronicles of a Breakup was their baptism of fire. Even so, he wasn’t new to kissing.

Thankfully, Mots was considerate. He noticed her apprehension about the stage kiss and offered to fake it instead. But the scene had to be staged in a way that a fake kiss would have been so painfully obvious, and Erin just went “oh what the heck” and decided to go for gold. Mots obliged, and was nice enough to “mentor” her without being all judgey.

“Don’t pucker your lips” was his first tip. “Loosen your jaw” was his second. There were more, and they came in unexpected moments, like when they waited in the wings and he told her to “Press your lips against mine a bit harder before I push you away.”

It was an Act Two breakup kiss, what they shared. Erin’s character was desperate to keep his, but his just wasn’t into hers any longer. As they went through the scene five times a week for eight straight weeks, Erin felt as if her heart wasted away every single time she kissed Mots goodbye.

The feeling stayed with her for weeks after the show had closed that she had to ask him to sit down and talk about it one afternoon.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “Sometimes I look at you and I can’t think straight.”

The look on his face prompted her to clarify. “I’m not in love with you, Mots. It’s just that I’ve been this character for a while and it’s difficult to get her out of my system.”

He got it, he said. They hugged it out, and that was that.

Five months later, she was kissing Andres San Vicente under a dim streetlight in Sa Kanto ng Kaimito at Santol. It was a more innocent kind of kiss, one that would reduce the females in the audience to squeals and giggles. Erin liked their once-a-show kisses better because they were hopeful and held the promise of a blossoming new love. And at the back of her mind, she allowed herself to fantasize over that kind of love too—until Andres brought his boyfriend to the cast party and crushed her dreams.

The distinction of sharing the most number of kisses with Erin goes to Brian Castro and Johann Rivera. Alternating as Erin’s long-distance boyfriends in Minsan Tayo, the average number of kisses she received per show was twenty, not including the ones that didn’t land on her lips. But even if Brian and Johann played the same character, their kisses were completely different.

Brian’s was playful and tentative half the time and tasted like Tic Tac. Johann’s was more intense and tended to linger a little more. They didn’t taste like anything remarkable, but Erin recalled the one time his lips tasted like ginger tea.

By the time she got to act alongside Nathan Zalameda for Karaoke Queen, the tables were turned: He was the novice, and she was the pro. Recalling every relevant moment in her kissing resume, Erin taught Nathan everything he needed to know.

And he was a fast learner. So fast, Erin actually found herself feeling flustered more than once.
Thinking about all those kisses made Erin feel a little dizzy. There were okay kisses, and there were kisses that, whether she liked to admit or not, completely rocked her world.

Is anyone going to measure up? she wondered. More importantly, is there anyone out there willing to?

About the Author

Tara Frejas is a cloud-walker who needs caffeine to fuel her travels. When she's not on work mode, she keeps herself busy by weaving her daydreams into stories.

Aside from her obvious love affair with words and persistent muses, this full-fledged Piscean (who cares what NASA says?) is passionate about being caffeinated, musical theatre, certain genres of music, dance, dogs, good food, and romancing Norae, her ukelele. She owns a male bunny named Max who sometimes tries to nibble on her writing notes.

In another life, she wishes to be a musical theatre actress. Or a director, maybe. But in the meantime, she’ll continue being an avid supporter of the local theatre show at a time.

Contact Tara

Subscribe to her newsletter!

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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Cover Reveal | Waiting in the Wings by Tara Frejas

Today, we get to see the cover for Waiting in the Wings, a new book by Tara Frejas.

The author has been posting snippets on her social media accounts, and I've been eagerly gobbling up every little morsel. You can tell how I excited I am for this book, can't you?

So, without further ado, here's the cover:

Isn't it pretty?!?!

Waiting in the Wings

Tara Frejas
Genre: Romance / NA / Contemporary
Release Date: February 21, 2017
Book Cover Design by: Miles Tan
At twenty-three, theatre actress Erin Javier has yet to fall in love or kiss a boy offstage and away from the klieg lights. She's the perfect leading lady—whose heart men would fight for, win, and protect—unfortunately, only until the curtains fell and the lights went down. In real life, Erin's a certified NBSB whose heart's been hoping for a song to dance to for quite some time.

But when two (two!) men enter from stage left and right, Erin is confused. Who deserves to take center stage in her heart—Mr. Theatre Royalty whose attention and displays of affection make her pulse race, or a good friend whose steady support has helped steer her to success and allowed her to fulfill her dream?

Add Waiting in the Wings on Goodreads:

About the Author

Tara Frejas is a cloud-walker who needs caffeine to fuel her travels. When she’s not on work mode, she keeps herself busy by weaving her daydreams into stories.

Aside from her obvious love affair with words and persistent muses, Tara is very passionate about being caffeinated, musical theatre, certain genres of music, dancing, dogs, good food, and romancing Norae, her ukelele. She owns a male bunny named Max who sometimes tries to nibble on her writing notes.

Fun fact: She's a Piscean. Go figure.

Get in touch with Tara!

Sign up for her newsletter here:

About the Artist

Miles Tan likes inhabiting imaginary worlds, from fantasy books to sci-fi shows to cheeky mysteries to role-playing games. She works with websites, plays with graphics, and is now currently painting with words.

Finding X is her first published novella. Her short story, Something Real, is included in the YA Luna East anthology, Kids These Days.

Get in touch with Miles!


Monday, February 6, 2017

Release Day | Keeping the Distance by Clarisse David is HERE!


Do you guys know what today is?

It's release day for Keeping the Distance! *throws confetti*

Where do I even begin to tell you about how amazing this journey has been? Keeping the Distance is the second book I released, but it feels so much like the first one in so many ways. I started writing it first (way back when I was a clueless nineteen-year-old). It's the first book in my first-ever series. Lots of firsts.

Anyway, before I start babbling, you can purchase Keeping the Distance right here. It's still $0.99 (I think). By the time you read the blog post, I've probably updated the price to $2.99, so I'm not sure how long it takes before the price changes.

I'm working on a few extras for Keeping the Distance--a 5 facts post, a playlist post, and maybe more. Haha. You'll see them soon enough.

If you've already read the book, all reviews will be highly appreciated. Thanks!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Review | Someday With You and Other Stories by Ines Bautista-Yao

Amazon | Goodreads

Note: The author kindly provided me with an ARC I decided to review.

Let me take a deep breath before I start, because I have a whole lot of love for this book.


Okay, I’m ready.

Someday With You and Other Stories contains three short stories by Ines Bautista-Yao, all told from the points-of-view of the male central characters. Patrick comes first. He pines over the same girl throughout and even after college. What happens when he meets the one who got away again after all these years?

Next is Toby. He has a lot of unfinished business to deal with. I’m not going to say anymore. In my opinion, it’s best to go into Toby’s story knowing very little about it.

Andrew comes last. Like Patrick, he’s been pining over the same girl for years, but his story has a much more glamorous showbiz backdrop.

Ines Bautista-Yao’s stories often stand out for me for one reason. She creates characters and worlds that seem a little more perfect than ours. The settings are lush. The boys are cuter and definitely more romantic. The love stories have the best endings.

But they’re still grounded in reality. Despite the tint of perfection, you still get the sense that this—whatever wonderful thing her fictional boys say or come up with—can happen to you, too. You feel that these characters are people you’ll meet in real life. The shy boy from that one class in college who didn’t have the guts to talk to you. The rich boy with the fancy car who didn’t know how to change a flat tire. This only serves to make her stories more swoon-worthy than ever. I don’t know how she does it, but I wish she’d tell me her secret. Haha.

Toby’s story was by far my favorite. As a writer, I highly admired seeing his character growth in a few short pages. I’ve always struggled with pacing when it comes to character development and used to think I’d need tons of scenes to show how a character is changing. Ines Bautista-Yao’s writing smashed that belief into smithereens. It showed me that you don’t need a ton of pages to portray character growth. You just need a few key scenes.

This short story collection made me laugh, grin like a fool, and tear up. All in one sitting. I highly recommend this book if you want ALL THE FEELS and are looking for a short read.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Cover Reveal | The Paths We Choose by M. Hollis

Today is the cover reveal for The Paths We Choose by M. Hollis. The author and I became friends over Twitter, and she's an amazing person and writer.

So, without further ado, here's the gorgeous cover of her new book:


Lily Ferrari enjoys having control over every detail of her life. Ever since she left her parents’ house to gain her freedom, she decided to fully own her autonomy. But an unexpected visit from her little brother may change the path she chooses to follow.
Add to that a casual fling with the bright architect Mayte González, and Lily’s summer is turning out more interesting than she expected. It certainly beats the routine of working extra shifts at Johnson’s Bookstore.

A few weeks before her college life begins, Lily needs to figure out if she’s wrong about the past or if she should continue to protect her heart at all costs.

Sometimes moving forward is only possible if you have the right people by your side.

Author Info

M. Hollis could never decide what to do with her life. From the time she was a child, she has changed her ideas for a career hundreds of times. After writing in hidden notebooks during classes and daydreaming during every spare moment of her day, she decided to fully dedicate herself to her stories. When she isn’t scrolling around her social media accounts or reading lots of femslash fanfiction, you’ll find her crying about female characters and baking cookies.



Thursday, January 26, 2017

Excerpt | Keeping the Distance by Clarisse David

Keeping the Distance will be out in less than two weeks! Right now, it's on sale for 0.99. The price will go up to 2.99 on February 6, 2017. If you want to grab a copy, I suggest you go get one now. *wink. wink. nudge. nudge* CLICK HERE.

Anyway, I thought I'd share an excerpt from the book with you today. It's a scene that literally made me laugh out loud while I was writing it.

Here it is:


“Sorry, but being another notch on your bedpost isn’t my lifelong ambition.” Melissa didn’t even bother to turn around. She merely leaned back on her chair and crossed her arms over her chest, the movement bringing her neck closer to his face.

The smell of lavender struck him with sudden force. His eyes were drawn once more to the constellation-shaped moles on her neck and wandered down to the vague outline of a bra clasp showing through her white blouse. That outline alone tilted his world on its axis.

If she could tell what he was thinking, she was going to wrap her fancy braid around his neck and simply pull.

He cleared his throat and shook his head even if she couldn’t see him. “I never said being a notch on my bedpost was your lifelong ambition, just your deepest, darkest fantasy.”

A squeak of indignation escaped Melissa’s lips, and the gravity in his world was restored. They were back on equal footing as her cheeks turned red.

His eyes were back on her neck again. He wasn’t doing himself any favors by sitting there and ogling her neck, like a thirteen-year-old who was getting his first look at a real pair of boobs.

Needing to get a grip on himself, he attempted to go talk to one of his teammates who sat a few rows away. Attempted was the keyword. He pushed himself off his chair, but it wouldn’t budge. It had attached itself to his slacks, some sort of superglue seeping through the fabric and latching onto his skin.

“You did this,” he said to the back of Melissa’s head, unable to keep the reluctant admiration out of his voice.

This time, she deigned to glance at him over her shoulder. Her face the picture of innocence, she said, “Prove it.”


But all the smugness evaporated from her face when Mr. Rodriguez, their Physics teacher, walked into the room. No matter how smart you thought you were, there was always one thing you overlooked when you were new to the art of troublemaking.

Melissa forgot to plan for the aftermath. It showed in the way she nervously doodled in her notebook, each stroke leaving a deep dent on the pages. He didn’t have much of a choice since he was glued to his seat, but he was going to enjoy the coming fireworks show.

In fact, he was going to milk every minute of it.

Mr. Rodriguez soon filled the blackboard with equations and formulas that barely made sense to any of them. When he noticed that most of their eyes were glazing over, he stopped, his gaze bouncing around the room in search of his next target. His eyes locked on Lance. “Mr. Ordonez, you seem to be uncharacteristically quiet today. Why don’t you go to the front of the room and regale us with your answer to this problem?”

Lance knew as much about the class discussion as he did about his father’s daily life in Manila.
Absolutely nothing.

He gained a sense of satisfaction when Melissa’s face turned as white as the notebook page she was writing on, knowing full well he couldn’t stand up without dragging his chair to the front of the room.

“I’d love to, Mr. Rodriguez, but I can’t.” Lance tried to keep his voice even. He watched Melissa’s grip tighten on her pen, her knuckles turning white with exertion.

“And why not? Can’t you grace us mere mortals with your presence?” Mr. Rodriguez raised his bushy eyebrows.

“Melissa’s beauty is binding me to my seat.”

It wasn’t that far from the truth.

Under other circumstances and with any other teacher, the class would’ve tittered with laughter by that point, but their Physics teacher was like some dark, pulsating thing that sucked joy out of the atmosphere.

No one even dared to smile.

“I’m not kidding.” Mr. Rodriguez said, narrowing his eyes. “Come here and answer this problem before I make you.”

He shook his head. “I can’t.”

“Well, then, I don’t have a choice, Mr. Ordonez.” Mr. Rodriguez’s face hardened, a line forming between his eyebrows. “Get out of my classroom.”

He scratched the back of his head, looking at his teacher in exasperation. “I can’t do that, either.”
Then class went so still you could hear people breathing. It was common knowledge that no one in his more than twenty years of teaching had ever defied Mr. Rodriguez. The man had no mercy when it came to failing students and was quite trigger-happy with his red pen.

“And why not?” A dangerous look glinted in Mr. Rodriguez’s eyes. He started bouncing a stick of chalk in his left hand, almost salivating at the prospect of kicking him out of Saint Agnes Catholic Academy.

Lance had no other choice but to tell the truth. He sighed. “Because, Mr. Rodriguez, I happen to be glued to my chair.”

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Cover Reveal | Keeping the Distance (I Heart Iloilo #1) by Clarisse David

Today, I finally get to show you the cover of Keeping the Distance!

Are you ready?


Are you sure?!?!

Okay. Let's do this.






It's gorgeous if I do say so myself. My friend, Dan, designed it for me. He's an amazing artist and totally got my vision for the cover. Maj and Carl, two co-workers, agreed to model. They even checked out my Pinterest board for Keeping the Distance, so they could pick out outfits my characters would actually wear. So, so thankful.

Aside from the cover reveal, I also have some news for you. Keeping the Distance is now available for pre-order and will only be 0.99 until release day (February 6, 2017)! I highly recommend getting a copy before the price goes up to 2.99. *wink. wink. nudge. nudge*

Thursday, January 19, 2017

3 Romance Writing Lessons from Korean Dramas

Korean dramas lure you in with seemingly simple premises, pretty boys, and hard-working but “plain” heroines you can relate to.

You tell yourself you’re only going to watch one episode, but emerge hours later looking like one of the undead. Before you know it, you’re telling your friends you’re busy on weekends, so you can stay in for a marathon.

In case you couldn’t tell by this point, I have a serious addiction to Korean dramas. I also happen to be a writer.

With those two traits combined, I often find myself overanalyzing my favorite Korean dramas in search of ways to further improve my writing. Why did the friends-turned-lovers trope work so well in Weightlifting Fairy: Kim Bok Joo? What was so great about Yoo Si Jin from Descendants of the Sun? Most importantly, why is Nam Joo Hyuk so HOT?!?!?!

Now that we have that out of the way, let me share some of the things I’ve learned about writing romance from Korean dramas.

MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD. You’ve been warned.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Book News | 2017 Publishing Schedule

This is a little late, but I still want to announce my grand plans for 2017.

Keeping the Distance will be released on February 6, 2017. If you follow me on any of my social media accounts, you’re probably sick of hearing me scream about it.

However, I failed to tell you that Keeping the Distance is the first book in my first-ever series. The series is called I Heart Iloilo, and it’s going to be a bunch of YA/NA novels set in—you guessed it—Iloilo, my hometown.

I’m proud of my first book, Prom Queen Perfect, even if it’s far from, well, perfect, but every time I reread it, I regret that I didn’t give it a stronger sense of place. There were no specifics about what it’s like to grow up in Iloilo, to eat oysters in Annie’s Talabahan, or to attend school here and end up seeing the same faces from elementary school until college.

True Story: About 20% of my high school classmates and I graduated from the same university.

Basically, Iloilo is a place that’s wonderful and suffocating all at once. I want to capture that feeling in a book. Whether I succeed or not is, of course, up to you, dear readers.

Keeping the Distance is obviously going to come out in a few weeks, and I hope you guys like it. I’ve finished the rough draft of the second book, and I’ve already begun editing it. The third book is currently in the outlining stage. It’s a wonderful time where I get to toss around ideas and the excitement to start writing builds.

I intend to release all three books this year. The first one in February, the second one in June, and the third one in October. Please don’t consider the June and October release dates set in stone, though, because life might get crazy.

Anyway, I’m very excited about the I Heart Iloilo series. It feels like I’m writing the stories I always wanted to read when I was a teenager and telling the stories I was always meant to tell. Let’s go on a wild ride together this 2017, okay?

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Review | Beginner's Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions by Six de los Reyes


Amazon | Goodreads

Falling in love is a chemical reaction.

Just ask Kaya Rubio, twenty-five year-old Molecular Genetics graduate student and research assistant. Fed up with her spinster aunts' relentless reminders and unsolicited advice regarding her Single Since Birth status, she designs a scientific, evidence-based methodology to find her a suitable partner in time for her cousin's wedding. As any good scientist knows, any valid experimental design requires a negative control. Enter the most unsuitable candidate for a potential boyfriend: the messy, easygoing, café owner Nero Sison. Her null hypothesis? Going out with Nero would establish her baseline data without catalyzing the chemical reaction she seeks.

But when Kaya's recorded results refuse to make sense, she is forced to come to the conclusion that there are some things in life that are simply, by nature, irrational and illogical. And that sometimes, chemistry doesn't always happen inside a lab


Beginner’s Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions by Six de los Reyes is like that super smart girl at work you’re scared to make friends with but who turns out to be funny, relatable, and kind of awkward. In book form.

It took me a while to pick up this book, because I found all the science stuff intimidating. When I finally started reading it during Christmas vacation, I wanted to smack myself for waiting so long. Beginner’s Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions is beyond amazing. It’s everything I never knew I wanted in a book.

Kaya is one of the most unique characters I’ve ever come across. She breaks life down into processes and chemicals and experiments, things I struggled to understand. It’s no wonder I thought I couldn’t relate to her at first.

But when her spinster aunts started bugging her about her lack of a significant other at a family event? OHMYGOD. It was like I was reading a page ripped right out of my life. Soon, I found myself nodding along to certain passages, ones about how difficult it can be to be overly enthusiastic about something but the rest of the world doesn’t care. How it feels to drown in social situations and not know how to swim your way out of it. Isn’t it wonderful how fiction holds up a mirror and lets us see ourselves?

The OTP was definitely my favorite part of the book. I love it when the Love Interest gives little signs that he likes the Main Character, but she doesn’t have a clue, not because she’s too stupid to live but because she doesn’t have the required social skills to determine if he’s flirting with her or not. I squealed in delight every time Nero gave Kaya a compliment and it flew right past her head. I wanted to scream, “Look! He just said he thinks you’re pretty. Process this!”


I give 5 out of 5 starts to Beginner’s Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions. It’s a great read about how we can never predict or control love, no matter how much we try or how much scientific data we have on our hands.
© Clarisse David
Maira Gall