About Me

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Mabuhay! I'm an Asian American writer (Back Kicks And Broken Promises, Abbott Press, 2012), martial artist and teacher who was born in The Philippines, raised in Hong Kong and ended up in New Jersey.

24 October, 2011

Author Pic Contest

Hi guys. Again, I've been away from blogging for too long. This time it's only been about three weeks but, really, if I'm going to call myself a writer I really do need to write. Life really gets in the way doesn't it? What I really long for is for writing to become my life. It is in my head and in my heart but there are things like bills, insurance payments, car payments, rent, etc that have to be paid so I have a teaching job and coaching jobs and other jobs to get those things covered and to sustain my writing needs.

But where's the writing? I'm supposed to be going through a final pass of my mansucript for my publisher but with everything going on, including raising my 3 year old and spening time with my wife, the time is gone from one day to the next. I'm starting to feel that I need to take a day off and shoot into NYC or somewhere that I can find a spot and write all day long.

As for the mention of a publisher, don't get too excited. As I may have mentioned in a previous blog, I've decided to self-publish. Maybe I'm selling out or maybe I'm just getting tired or impatient but after getting praise followed by the word "but" I don't have the energy to write a bunch of queries and wait and wait and wait. Actually, I'm still waiting to hear from an agent I pitched last January. She  asked for my entire manuscript. When I followed up with her, she said she hand't gotten to it yet but told me to be patient. Knowing my luck, as soon as I've finished payments and the production team and I have gone over all the proofs and my book is set to go to press, she'll probably email me with an offer from someone. Now, wouldn't that be something? I do believe in my work; not just because I've spent ten plus years working on it and because it's mine but because there is a story there that people will enjoy, relate to, get support from and even learn from. I also make myself feel better self-pubbing with the knowledge that Walt Whitman and other fantastic authors self-pubbed their first works too. So, if it was good enough for them to start out, it's good enough for me.

Well, since self-publishing is the equivalent of independent filmmaking in the book world, I've decided to give the world a say in the publishing of my novel. In my website, filamkickingscribe.com, I've posted a contest where you can help choose what photo I'll use for the author pic of my novel. You can win one, or even two, free copies of Back Kicks And Broken Promises. They'll be signed too! Click on this link to the Back Kicks And Broken Promises page of  my site and follow the instructions.

Read the excerpt too and get excited for my book's launch. ;-)

06 October, 2011

Balancing Act

So far, I'm managing but I feel that something inside is going to break. Then, something happens and things seem so easy and doable.

What am I talking about? Life, baby. Life.

Since the middle of August things have really taken off and by that mean it seems I don't stop moving and I'm jumping from one thing to another and back again. Yes, I do manage to have down for myself and for time with my wife and son but I always feel like I should be doing something - one of the things I'm working on.

What am I working on?

Well, I'm a teacher and there are lesson plans to write, classes to teach, assignments to grade, reports to write and meetings to attend. I'm also a volleyball coach and we're - the team and I - are deep into our season. So, there are practices to plan for and run, matches to coach, reports to file, local newspaper articles to write (at least I'm writing), college coaches to contact for my potential college-level student-athletes and meetings to attend. Then there's Taekwondo. I teach two nights a week and I may be competing in November so I've got my own training to do. I'm registered, too, for a 5 miler race in Central  Park on the last Saturday of this month. Have I been running to train? In my mind, yes. In reality, no. Haha.

Writing. There's that too. I'm trying to work on my next novel - Sage of Heaven. It's a YA, fantasy about a Chinese-American boy who's a descendant of The Monkey King. Have I written anything lately? Nothing concrete but a lot of thinking about my story; what The Gotham Writer's Workshop calls 'soft writing.' I'm also doing, yet again, revisions on Back Kicks And Broken Promises for my publisher. Yes, it's getting published but, I'll admit it, I've given in and am self-pubbing. I'm getting some praise for Back Kicks but no agents are biting so I'm self-publishing with Abbott, the print-on-demand division of Writer's Digest. Honestly, I'm tired (and maybe too lazy) to keep sending out queries and I just want to put Back Kicks to bed so I can fully focus on Sage.

Then there are my own workouts. I've lost more weight and am getting back to better health and fitness but I need to do more. At least I'm losing and not gaining.

And, then, of course there's home - the daily chores that have to get done and having family time.

I still haven't found a way to completely juggle everything and be efficient in how I juggle it all and in getting things done. I just plod along and hope for the best I guess. If anyone has suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

Anyway, thanks for reading and letting me vent. At least, by venting through my blog, I'm writing. Haha!

Steve Jobs

RIP Steve. I never met you but I feel I knew you. As an avid Apple user since the early 1980s and an Apple junkie, not just because of the sexiness of the newer Apple products but because of their simplicity and efficiency, I will miss you and your innovation. You, literally, changed the world. How many people can say that? Your ingenuity touched us technologically, intellectually, socially, stylistically and emotionally. Thank you for all you did and gave us, the consumer, to make our lives simpler and more enjoyable. You were a man ages ahead of your time and an inspiration to many. From my first Apple II to my Apple IIe to the first suitcase-sized "laptop" IIc to my MacBook to my iPod to my iPhone and, soon, to my iPad, I will always be an Apple man. Thank you and God speed. RIP Steve.

Filipino-American Heritage Month

Well, it's October (has been for a week now) and that means, among other celebrations, it's Filipino-American Heritage Month. As a Fil-Am, I am proud to celebrate it and share our culture with others. One way I do that is to post a display outside my classroom at work. I've put up a Filipino flag, recipes and printouts on the history of The Philippines, its relationship and history with America, some contributions The Philippines has made to popular culture and other topics. I didn't post a display last year because we were in a contract negotiations impasse and our union said we, the teachers, were not to display anything on any of our bulletin boards.

It's funny, though, how my students have reacted to the bulletin board. With the exception of 2010, I've put one up every year. My eighth graders saw the last one I put in wen they were in sixth grade. Maybe I'm expecting too much but with globalisation and the growth of mixed-race students in our district - many of whom are Asian and, particularly, Filipino - I'm surprised to still get questions from students if I, as a Filipino, am Asian and why I'm not Hispanic. What's most interesting is that some of the students asking me are Asian-Americans too.

In the twenty-six years I've lived in the United States, I've grown to genuinely love the country and to call it home but I still feel that its very ethnocentric. Social studies classes do little to teach American history is it pertains to the world, especially to The Philippines. I'll be honest. That statement is emotionally based and I haven't looked at a Social Studies curriculum recently but from the ignorance I hear I have to think that I may be on to something.

How many generally educated Americans know that The Philippines was a US territory like Puerto Rico is? How many of them know that the largest rescue mission in American military history took place in The Philippines? The United States is a country born from immigrants. How many people know that Filipinos were the first Asians to come here, long before the Chinese of the Gold Rush era. They were on various Spanish galleons that ended up in California and on Napoleon's French armada that landed in Louisiana.

I love that October - it could've been any month - has been officially recognised as Filipino-American Heritage Month but more has to be done to recognise us.  I'm speaking for Filipinos, naturally, as a Filipino but every recognition has to be reinforced through media and education. September 15-October 15 is Latino-American Month, October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month, May is Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month, etc. If we're going to recognise these things, and other months recognising other worthy causes, we need to educate people on what and why we're celebrating.