Sunday, December 13, 2015

Favorite romance reads of 2015

Mina asked this question on Facebook the other day, and while I answered with three of my favorite books, new ones that I really enjoyed kept popping in my head. Lest I spam her thread, I'm doing this blog post instead!

Now for me when I really love a romance book I immediately re-read it. Like, right when I finish it, I stew around in a puddle of feels, and then I go back to the start and experience it all over again. These were the books that did that for me this year, in no particular order:

1. Submission Moves by Camilla Sisco. A feminist and an MMA fighter walk into a bar right after his match. Sounds like the recipe for a joke, but instead it delivers a lot of steam and lots of food for thought for subscribers to Jezebel and Bustle and The Mary Sue but also love romance.

2. When A Scot Ties The Knot by Tessa Dare. Because Scotland, and Jamie Fraser, and drawing, and hilarity, and so hot. 

3. The Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen. The Ivy Years series, you guys. (Because I had to restrain my self from putting up The Year We Hid Away and Blonde Date up here too.) They don't shy away from difficult topics, but Sarina writes them with such honesty and heart, they just grab you by the chest. The Year We Fell Down's Corey Callahan, a former hockey star disabled by a terrible accident, is tough and vulnerable in all the best ways, and Adam Hartley, her next-door neighbor? Sweet and complex.

4. Songs Of Our Breakup by Jay E. TriaThis one brought me back to high school: Bands, and hanging out with boys all day, and trying to get over your ex when he's always there. Plus cute Japanese actor friend to help (that part not in high school experience but a girl can always dream!)

5. Off Base by Tessa Bailey and Sophie Jordan. HOO BOY. The sizzle in this one is off the charts. May I present to you two sample sentences?
"You're worth shaking hands over. Worth the time it takes to be read the riot act." (Beck & Kenna)
"You're not going to run out of here and pretend you didn't just back that ass into me." (Cullen & Huntley)

6. The Duke Takes A Bride by Suzette de Borja. An aristocrat called The Delicious Duke and the childhood friend he tries to marry for convenience. Add a bug-eyed goldfish that happens to be black. This one had me laughing, squirming and clutching my heart for feeeeeelllssss. 

7. Choco Chip Hips by Agay Llanera. A YA book in a sea of contemporary romances? Yes please. This had me in tears in the best way possible. The story of shy, overweight Jessie discovering herself is just too wonderful.

8. Learning to Fall by Mina V. Esguerra. Team Stayson! Hunky rugby player and quirky book blogger, with an interesting 'Live Like Fiction' challenge in the end and proof that awesome alpha males need not be jerks.

And that's for my 2015! I wish I could've read more (she said, looking guiltily at her towering TBR pile) but it's been an awesome book year so far! What's on your list? :D

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Update: So much stuff happened edition

So much stuff happened, you guys. It's kind of nuts.

Thank you sooo much to everyone who dropped by and bought books at #romanceclass booth at yesterday's @filreadercon! We hope you enjoy your haul and please keep on supporting homegrown authors, regardless of the genre they write. And if it isn't too much to ask, leave your reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, etc. Keep talking about them on your social media pages because these things help authors a huge lot! Most of them are on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so reaching out to them is pretty easy. If you're an eBook reader or have friends who are, head them over at romanceclassbooks.com for more choices! We also hope you had so much fun (and feels!) at the #romanceclass live reading by @giogahol and @theatrachel! Did you heart take it well? ;) By the way, the lovely booth setup was made by some authors themselves! Photos from @jotheeful
A photo posted by #romanceclassbooks (@romanceclassbooks) on
FilReadercon
I had a blast at the FilReadercon with the rest of the lovely #romanceclass and RWP ladies. Highlights of my day would be:
  • joining the Speed Dating event, where readers got to sit with authors and talk about what kind of books they like and what we could offer them, in 3 minute-intervals. I got a lot of interesting insights, lemme tell ya! 
  • The live reading by Gio Gahol and Rachel Coates from #romanceclass books. FEELS EXPLODING EVERYWHERE. At one point, while they were reading from Dawn Lanuza's The Boyfriend Backtrack, Rachel narrated a bit that asked "Should I take his hand?" and I was all "Do it. DO EEEETTT." BTW please subscribe to the Romance Class Podcast Youtube Channel to hear more of these wonderful performances by Rachel and Gio!
  • Just hanging out with awesome authors with the same silly sense of humor, hugot and feelsplosions. Check out more recaps from Mina, Jay and Anne.
Sports discussion
We got to sit down and talk with Gabe Norwood! Too awesome!!
So every other month or so we meet and talk about our favorite books. This month, it was all about sports romances, and Gabe was kind enough to answer all our questions about the life of a pro-athlete -- and yeah, that includes his love life! It was an enjoyable afternoon, crazy traffic notwithstanding. Recaps from Mina and Anne.

Reading
My TBR pile is just getting longer and longer! I have my Readercon haul and lots of new and not so new e-releases from my favorite authors, like Agay Llanera's This Side of Sunny (I'm a huge fan of her Vintage Love, Once Upon A Player and my super favorite Choco Chip Hips, so excited for this!), Tessa Dare's Lord Dashwood Missed Out and Mina V. Esguerra's What You Wanted (back to the Philippines for this one!). Plus I started on Sarina Bowen's FREE series starter, The Year We Fell Down, and now I'm hooked on her Ivy Years series. Blonde Date was awesome and now starting on The Year We Hid Away. WHEW. 

Writing
Takedown 3 is coming together, you guys!! I SWEAR. Sorry it's taking so long. Because...

Real life
It's the holiday season and it's get-togethers and shopping and cooking and decorating and putting up contingency plans at work for the lean season left, right and center. I've been squeezing in writing time where I can (mostly at lunch. Hah!). I'm so inspired lately that I feel the words just itching to flow down to paper, but where's a Time Turner when you need it?

So how's that for an update blitz? Thanks for keeping up and I'm wishing you the loveliest Christmas season ever! 

kisses,
Bianca

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Ready for #FilReadercon!

I'm going to be hanging out at the #romanceclass and Romance Writers of the Philippines booths at the Filipino Readercon and I hope to see you there!

November 28, 2015 - 8:00AM - 6:00PM
Henry Sy Sr. Hall | De La Salle University, Taft Ave. Manila
 

I'll be selling my ebooks too. I'll email them straight to you, and you can get them in any digital format you want! Pricelist below:


One Night at the Palace Hotel - Php 45
Takedown bundle (In too Deep and Peyton Riley) - Php90
Bianca Mori bundle (One Night at the Palace Hotel, Tame the Kitten, In Too Deep and Peyton Riley) - Php 125

eBook buyers get coupons that you can use as bookmarks too :)


See you there!!! 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Surfacing

The last week and a half have been a word marathon to get to the finish line: submit the #heistclub draft by 8PM on October 31! Of course work has been kicking my ass, not to mention my own difficulties with the manuscript, so I ended up blazing through eight chapters in nine hours last Saturday to make the deadline.

I ended up canceling our weekly supermarket date (sorry kids) and went all out with a celebratory dinner afterward, but it was worth it! My wrist hurt but I felt so alive, silencing my inner editor and just letting the words flow so that I could satisfy my outline.

This week is the hard part: editing all that wordflow! Hah!

And then I'll be taking maybe a couple of days' break before diving back into the manuscript that got interrupted by #Heistclub: Takedown 3. 

(Unless mom lit gets there first.)

(And there's that plot bunny I posted that seems to want to jump in line of everything I've got in order -- wait your turn, plot bunny!)
***

So anyway, while I was racing to finish my manuscript, I also missed my own book launch. Yes, all six Spark Books titles were launched last October 25... and I missed it!

(It's a long story, but short version: trip planned way back in June, launch date hard to schedule, etc.)
So I just tracked through my fellow authors Chrissie Peria, Dawn Lanuza, Kate Evangelist and Agay Llanera's posts (Camilla Sisco couldn't make it too.) Spark Books posted these photos of the launch also. And then there are these recaps of the launch:

Mina V. Esguerra (who also hosted)
TBD Book Blog
What's A Geek?
Anette The Wicked
Chrissie Peria (author of The Kitchen When It Sizzles)

Congrats to my fellow authors and thank you to everyone who supported the launch of Spark Books! You can find them at any National Bookstore branch. On Instagram, readers have spotted them on the YA shelves, Romance, Pinoy -- and sometimes right at the counter! So if you can't find them, just ask any of your friendly NBS sales staff and they'll point you right.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Writerly thoughts: When writing knocks you off balance (#Heistclub)

I started this post in Facebook and realized I wouldn't have enough space to go at it, so:

Writerly confession time:
I shifted to writing romance in my mid-20s because that was the time when I no longer wrote as therapy. Prior to my first book (published in my real name), I wrote to work through difficult emotions in my life. Until I didn't need to anymore.

And since the shift, I shied away from any writing that explored those difficult issues. Because they dredged up things that were better buried. Because a lot of my well-being depended on keeping those things in the past, and moving forward, and keeping balanced. So I wrote about love, and people coming together, and happy endings, and caring deeply, and having that 'caring deeply' be enough to resolve the obstacles I put in my characters' way.Because those things kept me happy and balanced and let me create and still tell stories.

This year I wanted to explore more in my writing. To dig a little deeper, to talk about different things, to stretch. I started shifting to romance-suspense with the Takedown trilogy, and I've had a lot of fun with it. My MC and LI are both amoral criminal types working for even worse people, but on the whole it's been fun and breezy and enjoyable to create. Still light, still balanced, still happy.

And then came #heistclub. (#Heistclub is this prompt I'm working on along with lots of different writers to come up with Filipino crime fiction.) And this is all my fault, really.

I could've approached the prompt with the fun side of crime fiction in mind -- and that's what I intended to do, at first. A little Italian Job, a little Ocean's Eleven. But then I started plotting and outlining, and I ended up with something...not fun. More We Need To Talk About Kevin. Murder, and hate, and deceit.

I wonder: How did I get here? Maybe it's the advice to 'say something with what you're writing.' Or maybe these are things that I wanted to explore after all, and this is the perfect time to go for it.

It's not been easy. As I am writing through this I feel those buried things clawing their way up to the surface. It's unsettling. Every time I face my working file, something in me shrinks. Do I really want to get into so-and-so's headspace, again? It was terrible the first time. Or is it really the fear that these distasteful things I am describing are a little bit too close to home?

And the biggest fear of all: what if after all the anxiety and imbalance that this assignment's brought up, I end up with something that sucked? WAH.

But I'm going to finish it -- you know that's what I'll do. Let's just hope it doesn't suck. In the meantime, let me go for a run and work those icky thoughts away. And then I'll go back to something fluffy after this.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Free books! Win 2 copies of TAME THE KITTEN


Win 2 signed copies of the Spark Books edition of Tame The Kitten (and a couple of surprises too)! Raffle runs from today to October 23. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 12, 2015

#Free this week: PEYTON RILEY (Takedown book 2)

Peyton Riley - Book 2 of the Takedown Trilogy
FREE on Amazon: October 15 and 16

Not to get Liam Neeson on your asses, but the fact is that Peyton Riley has a very specific skill set. She's good at her job and has just gotten off a major project when she crosses paths with the gorgeous snake-in-the-grass calling himself Carson Varis. He's taken her against her will, but to where, and to what end? She's got days to figure this out and escape–before her boss finds out where his favorite specialist has disappeared.


Carson Varis has got an eye for art and a mania for professionalism. No one does work-life balance like he does. But a certain fiery redhead has gotten his goals in a twist. He has his employer's order to fulfill, but can't get the memory of her body (and her hair, and her deep blue eyes, and oh, that mouth) out of the way. Can he get it together and pull off a job well done?


Link on Amazon -- get it free here on October 15 and 16.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Read an excerpt from In Too Deep (free today!)


Stressed out over a recently completed monster of a project? Mary Shaw feels you. All she wants to do is go on a vacation on a deserted-ish island and be alone. Maybe not so alone: cute guy alert! Brown curls, luscious lips and eyes you can drown in? Yes please!
But all is not what it seems in this island paradise. Mary's 'projects' can turn quite deadly, and she isn't 100% sure she's in the clear with her boss...

In Too Deep, book 1 of the Takedown Trilogy, is FREE today. Grab it and start on the series, because book 2, Peyton Riley, goes free on October 15-16!

Get In Too Deep from Amazon now.

You can also read the reviews or an excerpt for In Too Deep here.

Happy reading!

Monday, October 5, 2015

In Too Deep is #FREE on Amazon - October 9. Reviews welcome!

Book 1 of the Takedown Trilogy
A private island….an exclusive guest list…a hot, friendly guy who's more than willing to have that proverbial summer fling…it's the perfect getaway. Or is it? 

Mary Shaw works hard and plays harder. Off a difficult project that doesn't go quite according to plan, she heads off on a solitary vacation to recharge her nerves and get things together. That there's a dimpled man-candy who wants to take things up a sexy notch? Perfect bonus. But all is not what it seems, and the things that Mary seeks to escape have a way of catching up with her.

Free: October 9 on Amazon. Link here



***
In Too Deep is the first of the Takedown Trilogy (the second, Peyton Riley, was released on September 5 AND will be free on October 15-16, so start grabbing them while they're free so you can start the series!). Originally written for the Love's A Beach anthology, this was my first attempt at the romance-suspense genre. And I have to say it was a gamble! Some early readers were expecting a straightforward beach romance and were taken aback by the suspense elements and the cliffhanger. But then I got some encouraging feedback from reviewers who got what I was going for -- that whole smash of all the elements of romance that I love (the heat! the attraction!) with the addictive qualities of mysteries and heist fiction/movies that I also cannot get enough of.

I really believe that there's a reader for every writer. Just as I enjoy twists and turns and difficult MCs beyond a straightforward HEA, I'm sure there are others who like this just as much, too. But here's the thing -- I need your help to reach them. An indie author's readership grows best through word of mouth. If you could share that this free promo, post a review, get the word out -- that would be so, so awesome and you would have my undying love. And in return, I'll love you back: Let me know which of my books, or any one book in this catalog that you want, and I 'll send it your way. Yay? YAY!

Email me at thebiancamori {at} gmail {dot} com if you're in!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Where to get my books

Series: The Takedown Trilogy

Book 3 - coming in 2015!


Book 2

Peyton Riley

Not to get Liam Neeson on your asses, but the fact is that Peyton Riley has a very specific skill set. She's good at her job and has just gotten off a major project when she crosses paths with the gorgeous snake-in-the-grass calling himself Carson Varis. He's taken her against her will, but to where, and to what end? She's got days to figure this out and escape–before her boss finds out where his favorite specialist has disappeared.


Carson Varis has got an eye for art and a mania for professionalism. No one does work-life balance like he does. But a certain fiery redhead has gotten his goals in a twist. He has his employer's order to fulfill, but can't get the memory of her body (and her hair, and her deep blue eyes, and oh, that mouth) out of the way. Can he get it together and pull off a job well done?

Amazon (Kindle Unlimited)
Goodreads


Book 1

In Too Deep

A private island….an exclusive guest list…a hot, friendly guy who's more than willing to have that proverbial summer fling…it's the perfect getaway. Or is it?


Mary Shaw works hard and plays harder. Off a difficult project that doesn't go quite according to plan, she heads off on a solitary vacation to recharge her nerves and get things together. That there's a dimpled man-candy who wants to take things up a sexy notch? Perfect bonus. But all is not what it seems, and the things that Mary seeks to escape have a way of catching up with her.




Amazon (Kindle Unlimited)
Goodreads

Standalone

Tame the Kitten
Spark Books print edition
Kit Torres can't believe her awful luck when she's assigned to babysit a motorcycling superstar for her boss. But sexy sparks fly when he teaches her all about the finer aspects of control. Can Kit keep her cool when the race starts to heat up?

Fab Magnani lives on the edge of disaster -- he makes a good living out of it as a pro racer. Will his instincts for squeezing out of danger serve him when he comes face to face with an Puerto Rican spitfire who takes an instant dislike to him?



Amazon
Goodreads
Smashwords (epub, Apple, PDF and other formats)
Buqo (mobile / tablet app)
Print edition now available from Spark Books at your nearest National Bookstore!

One Night at the Palace Hotel

One night can bring the past roaring back to life... 

It's the night before The Palace Hotel opens, and the entire city is abuzz with what everyone is calling a throwback to the Gilded Age. Everyone, that is, except Consuelo de la Red. Faced with a destiny picked out for her and a past she just can't forget, she confronts the choices she has made and the man she was forced to reject. When the past comes crashing into the present, will she listen to her duty or give into the urging of her heart?



Also featured in: Seduction Steamy Reads bundle (Buqo)

Peyton Riley: A Q&A (originally posted on Goodreads)

I sat down with one of my loyal readers (spoiler alert: my sister) to talk about Peyton Riley, book 2 of the Takedown series.

Tell me about the Takedown series.
The Takedown books are a hybrid romance-suspense-crime-fiction-but-not-really sort of genre. It's a mouthful! Truthfully I don't really know how to classify them. Anyway, they center around a central character, a girl named Peyton Riley, who is a takedown specialist.

What is a "takedown"?
In MMA terms, a takedown is when you literally take your opponent down to the ground, where you can inflict the most damage by trying to submit them or doing a ground-and-pound. In my books, a takedown occurs when you prevent something from happening, like a wedding or a business merger, usually by engineering some sort of downfall or scandal. And that's what Peyton does for a living.

Who is Peyton Riley?
She's the heroine of the series - or more like an anti-heroine. She's in this line of business that's not entirely scrupulous, and she's tough and a little amoral -- she has to be. As the series progresses you find out a little bit more about her, how she ended up that way, and realize that she's not so hardened as she thinks she is.

So there's Peyton, the MC. What about the LI?
The love interest in this series is a man called Carson Varis. He meets Peyton in book 1 and through some maneuvering (I won't say how exactly) he gets her on a sort of mission that forms the main plot of book 2. He's very, very charming and used to talking his way in and out of different situations. Peyton and him are evenly matched, I should say.

What inspired you to write about this?
I was just thinking about the books I enjoy reading and that's where I thought of 'Romance Plus.' It's like, I enjoy the heat levels and the feels in the romance genre, but I also need a bit more happening on the side to really love a book. That 'plus' could be a mystery, or some sort of historical event, or anything that is a bit more than developing the relationship between the MC and the LI (although that's great too). So I decided to write my own 'Romance Plus.' And also I wanted to write about someone who's sex-positive and not necessarily scrupulous, because I thought that would be fun.

The cover of Book 1 and Book 2 are a little different.
There's less skin, you mean?

Exactly! Was that intentional?
Yes. Book 1, In Too Deep,is structured as more of a straight, steamy romance. The mystery factor's just hinted at. Whereas Peyton Riley, Book 2, really focuses more on the mission bit of the story. With still some steam added in, because I love that. :D

Can readers pick up Peyton Riley or do they need to start at book 1?
Peyton Riley can be read as a standalone, although it references events from Book 1, but not enough that you'd be completely lost. I'd love if readers read both, of course!

What can readers expect from this series?
Steam, intrigue, a bit of suspense and Europe! (The book is set in Amsterdam.)

Can I ask you when book 3 is coming out?
The first draft is about a third of the way done, so I hope to be out with it by October or November, fingers crossed.

Thank you for answering these questions!
Thank you for asking them!
***
Peyton Riley goes on sale September 5 on Amazon.com. Buy here.