Archive for December, 2012

Thank You, 2012

Ang hindi lumingon sa pinanggalingan, hindi makararating sa paroroonan –

“One who doesn’t learn from his past, cannot hope to succeed in the future.”

– an old Filipino proverb


It’s the last day of the year, and before I start listing down my New Year’s goals, I’d like to reflect on all the writing milestones I’ve passed, all the goals I’ve achieved and all the lessons I’ve learned.

2012 was my busiest year ever, and not because I watched 74 movies (4 of which were repeats), listened to 51 audiobooks, and read 21 books.  This year was filled with a lot more activities than gorging myself on media.



Explored the South Bay Botanical Garden & Banning Museum for the first time during Maiko’s bday.

Saw Ani Di Franco in concert

Attended a one day Nikon School Photography Course

Watched movie at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Attended an L.A. Sparks Basketball Game

Celebrated the Filipino culture with Filipino-American artists like Apol de Ap (Black-Eyed Peas), Nicole Scherzinger (Pussy Cat Dolls), Lou Diamond Phillips, and Vanessa Hudgens at the Filipino Music Festival.

Attended a friend’s French/Korean wedding

Went to Seaworld and ate dinner with Shamu

Met my cute nephew Logan

Went on a Foody Field Trip and watched a movie on recliner while eating dinner at the iPic Theater in Pasadena for Lena’s bday

Attended a friend’s wedding in San Francisco, and hiking in the Muir Woods

Watched Allegiance the Musical in San Diego with my Mom and Aunt, and got  to meet the awesome performers afterward.

Laughed my head off while watching the Book of Mormon with friends.

Went to Japan and witnessed the amazing culture first hand and saw the beautiful temples sights in Osaka and Kyoto.


Other memorable events this year include:

 A 3 day birthday celebration with family and friends

 Cutting my long hair after two years and donating it to Locks of Love.

My usual appearance at the annual Renaissance Faire

A Reunion with my High School friends

 Seeing my bestfriend Yv again after 7 years, meeting her hubby for the first time and taking them around Los Angeles. 

 Watching a Lakers game from the 3rd tier (very scary!)



Perhaps the biggest accomplishment of this year was getting the nonprofit status for the writing group I founded.  Children’s Book Writers of Los Angeles (CBW-LA), which began as the Torrance Children’s Book Writing Group two years ago, is now officially a nonprofit organization.

This year, through CBW-LA I facilitated 5 Critique Sessions, and taught two major workshops:

January 14, 2012 (22nd meetup): Get On Your Write Path: Plan Your Writing  Goals & Your Writing Career

March 10, 2012 (24th meetup): Creative Writing Session: Find Your Voice, Style & Learn the Art of Description

 We were also lucky enough to get amazing speakers/authors to facilitate several workshops with us.

Screenwriting Gurus Kathie Fong-Yoneda and Pamela Jaye Smith talked about the Myth, Magic & Madness of Writing for the Children’s Market in July.

In August, powerhouse YA authors Jennifer Bosworth & Leigh Bardugo gave us tons of helpful tips and lessons in their workshop entitled: What I Wish I’d Known: Avoiding Publishing Pitfalls from Draft to Deal.

Finally, in October, fellow CBW-LA Scribbler and Indie Author Chris Lynch held a valuable workshop on Self-Publishing.


When I started the group in 2010, I had 7 members. Now we have 277 members and we hope that our new nonprofit status will help us achieve our goals of improving and expanding our writing program.



This 2012, I also had my first taste of what it really means to be a part of the awesome SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) L.A. Board. It was trial and error as I fulfilled my duties as Contest Coordinator, and I definitely learned a lot of things which I’m eager to use for the coming year. Giving out the contest certificates during Writer’s Day last April was my favorite part of the job. I remembered getting my first Writer’s Day contest certificate, and as I gave out the awards, I felt like I’d come full circle.


Giving out Writers Day Winners’ Certificates, photo by Rita Crayon-Huang

I also attended several wonderful and inspiring SCBWI events this year:

SCBWI O.C. Agents Day  (March 31, 2012)

SCBWI L.A. Writers Day (April 21, 2012)

SCBWI L.A. Critiquenic  (June 2, 2012)

SCBWI L.A. Summer Conference (August 3-6, 2012)

SCBWI L.A. Working Writers Retreat (September 7-9, 2012)


I’ll always remember 2012 as the year of Book Signings. I was lucky enough to be a guest at a few of my author friends’ book launches.

February 4, 2012 – Sara Wilson Etienne’s Book Launch (Harbinger)

March 13, 2012 – Lissa Price Book Launch (Starters)

May 12, 2012 – Jennifer Bosworth’s Book Launch (Struck)

June 4, 2012 – Leigh Bardugos Book Launch (Shadow & Bone)

September 22, 2012 – Gretchen McNeil (Ten)


I also attended Wondercon for the first time this March. There I went to the Shivers Shakes and Swoons: YA Panel and got to listen to awesome Authors Andrea Cremer (Nightshade Series), Ransom Riggs (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children), Veronica Rossi (Under the Never Sky), Lissa Price (Starters), Gretchen McNeil (Possess, Ten), Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures), & Ann Aguirre (Razorland Trilogy)

Of course, I didn’t dare miss out on the USC LA Times Festival of Books. I got to see Julie Andrews and Betty White there, along with YA favorites Lissa Price, Marie Lu and Cecil Castellucci.

Some of my favorite book signings this year include:

January 26, 2012 – Orson Scott Card (Ender’s Game)

February 17, 2012– Jen Reese (Above World) & Sara Wilson Etienne (Harbinger)

February 24, 2012 – Breathless Reads Tour:

Andrea Cremer (Nightshade Series), Marie Lu (Legend), Beth Revis (Across the Universe, A Million Suns), Jessica Spotswood (Born Wicked)

May 23, 2012  Cecil Castellucci (Year of the Beasts)

June 6, 2012 – Michael Scott (Secrets of the Immortal Nicolas Flamel Series)

June 25, 2012 – Ernest Cline (Ready Player One)

August 5, 2012 – SCBWI Summer Conference

Sara Shepard (Pretty Little Liars), Matthew Kirby (Clockwork Three), Linda Sue Park (A Single Shard), Pamela Wells (The Heartbreakers), Jay Asher (Thirteen Reasons Why), Chris Rylander (The Fourth Stall), Dan Santat (Sidekicks), Tracy Barrett (Sherlock Files Series), Tony DiTerlizzi (Wondla Series, Spiderwick Chronicles Illustrator)

November 15, 2012Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke & Bone Trilogy)  




This year, I took two belt tests, and moved up 3 grade levels. I went from Orange to Blue to Green to Purple—Belt, that is.

I also got to train with Grandmaster Arnulfo “Dong” Cuesta, and other Filipino Martial Arts Masters for the first time, during the Doce Pares Training Seminar this October.





My blog turned two this year.

I survived and actually rocked the A-Z Blogging Challenge. I finished writing and scheduling all my posts for April a month before, so I had time to visit all 1722 blogs on the roster! I learned so many things from the challenge this year and actually became a better blogger because of it. 


My Spotlight Week was more fun this year, not only because I managed to give away a lot of wonderful signed books, but also because I was able to wrangle interviews from some of my favorite authors:

 Lissa Price (Starters)

Alex Cavanaugh ( CassaStar, CassaFire)

Sara Wilson Etienne (Harbinger)

Marie Lu (Legend Trilogy)

Jenn Reese (Jade Tiger and Above World)

Gretchen McNeil (Possess and Ten)

I started a new series called  Wednesday Writers Workspace which turned out to be quite a success. I got to know a lot of my bloggy friends a little better, and even made friends with a few new names. 

 Some of my bloggy friends invited me over to their blog for a visit. I had a lot of fun writing my guest posts and meeting even more new bloggers.

October 17, 2012 – A Day in The Life Of, guest post on Sophia’s blog (Sophia the Writer)

October 26, 2012 – How Music Inspires Writing, guest post on Veronica’s Blog (Thursday’s Child)

November 12, 2012 – The Importance of Joining a Writing Group, guest post on Susan Gourley’s BLog (Susan Says)

 I also organized my website quite a bit.

 –        I rearranged the tabs on the home page, organizing the links under the Author Interviews, Book Reviews and Book Signings tabs.

–        I listed down links to various Agents and Editors websites under my Helpful Links tab.

–        I gathered all my posts on the various places I’ve traveled to and listed down their links under my Travel Pieces tab.

–        I added a Writing Resources tab which might be helpful for fellow writers.

–        I also added the Setting Up Shop for Writers posts to the Writing Tools tab.



You might be wondering, “With all these book signings and writing conferences you’ve attended, and all the traveling and event-hopping you’ve been doing, did you even have time to WRITE?”

Well, I’m proud to say I’ve accomplished much in that department as well:

I finally managed to organize the home office—a big achievement considering all the junk I had there.

I gathered three of my best writer buddies, and we formed our very own critique/writer support group. We meet once a month, and we even found a nice Korean bakery with a meeting room upstairs to serve as our “home base”.

Most importantly, I finished three drafts of my second book, and first ever YA Novel.

I’ve certainly accomplished much this year (No wonder I was exhausted this whole December!) I end the year with deep gratitude and humble amazement. I am grateful for all the things I’ve accomplished (both big and small), the lessons I’ve learned, the wonderful people I’ve met and met again, and all the amazing experiences I’ve had this year.

I’m looking forward to being just as busy and happy next year.

I wish you a healthy, and happy New Year. May all your dreams come true this 2013!

Thank you 2012!

Hello, 2013! 


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Possess Giveaway Winner and A Holiday Break

And the winner of last month’s Spotlight Week giveaway is

 Cassie McBride

Congratulations! You’ve won a SIGNED copy of Gretchen McNeil’s POSSESS. I’ll email you instructions on how to claim your prize.

I’ll be taking a break from blogging this month due to my crazy holiday schedule. (As you read this, I’m currently in Japan enjoying a short break). I’ll be back in January to bug you all again.

In the meantime, I’m wishing you all a very Happy Holiday and a rocking New Year!

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