A Season of Gratitude

Looking back on my frenetic travel schedule over the last eight months, the question presents itself: What was I thinking? Since The Mango Bride book tour kicked off in San Diego on April 30, I’ve visited 17 cities, 8 states and 2 countries. I’ve read at universities, cafés, malls, museums, embassies and book stores. By a conservative estimate, I’ve read to over a thousand people. I managed all this getting by on the slimmest of shoestring budgets: cooking for many of the events, schlepping my own posters and bookmarks to each reading, crashing in the apartments of old college buddies. I went into debt to go on this book tour, not just financially but in terms of sheer utang na loob.

Clearly, the tour would not at all have been possible without the help of friends and family. My sole currency of payment was books, and surprisingly, friends were willing to work for the price of a tale well told. Thus, in the waning days of 2013 I’d like to take time out from Christmas dinner preparations to compose a Thank you, THANK YOU list. If The Mango Bride Book Tour were a movie, all you wonderful people would be in the closing credits:

Dawne Ellison & Professor Nancy Kwak, who each spent several hours on pro bono photo shoots at Balboa Park. Their photos now comprise the only acceptable author photos online or on the book.
John Barron, who designed my website and walked me through multiple hours of troubleshooting.

Tara F.T. Sering who scooped the novel with an article on Smile,  the inflight magazine of Cebu Pacific Air, with its captive audience of a  million readers every year.

Erin Dwyer, who organized a raffle during the San Diego Book Launch Party to raise money for the rest of the book tour.
Dr. Chito Soliven – who not only flew in from Louisiana to attend his sister’s book party, but who also bought most of the raffle tickets Erin sold.

My mother – who flew in from Manila & helped subsidize the cost of baking 300 cupcakes & 15 pounds of pork adobo as well as untold quantities of alcohol that I served at the book launch party

Judy Reeves, who not only midwifed this novel to completion but then crowed about its birth as the emcee at the first book launch party.

judy reeves beauty shot
Tribal Baroque – who not only inspired an entire scene in the novel, but also subsequently attended and performed at the San Diego book party

sd+tribal baroque
Professor Brian Goldfarb, who video-taped the entire reading in San Diego
Chau Matser and Sissie Davies who book-ended the reading in San Diego with a set of torch songs.
Professor John Blanco who designed e-flyers, wrangled child care duties and held down the fort while his wife ran off to join the circus that was this book tour.

Jim Ruland, who wrote the first San Diego review of The Mango Bride in SD City Beat

Will and Diana Fang Tiao, who organized the reading at Skylights Book Store and let me crash at their home. Multiple times.
Third Paran, for being an early supporter of the novel and for including a lovely review in his newly-born Salamin journal.
Ruben Nepales, because when the Chairman of the Board of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association attends a reading in L.A., that is major.

Janelle So, who interviewed me on the cable TV show, Kababayan LA.

Michael Gil Magnaye, who event-planned the San Francisco book party and arranged a TV interview on ABS/CBN International with
Troy Espera, the inimitable broadcast journalist who produced two news stories on The Mango Bride for ABS CBN International

Ed Lozada who, under the auspices of PAWA  generously subsidized the refreshments and liaised with the Manilatown Foundation for the San Francisco book party

Roy Ferreira, who, among many other kindnesses, did a head count at the San Francisco reading and cut cheesecake into 70 precisely equal slices
Gemma Nemenzo who, via the online journal Positively Filipino provided a venue for Professor Joi Barrios’s lovely review of The Mango Bride

Aimee Santos Lyons – who orchestrated the Portland book event and persuaded…
Sarika Mehta to interview me on her radio show Between the Covers
Celia Ferrer-Dunne – who sang passionately at the Portland reading despite being in the early stages of labor.


Bob Flor, Maria Batayola and Shalea Semana, who organized the readings at the University of Washington, Seattle and Elliott Bay Bookstore
Donna Miscolta and Michelle Penaloza, who shared their wonderful fiction and poetry at the readings in Seattle
Connie Martinson who interviewed me on the Connie Martinson Talks Books TV show in Los AngelesDSCN2011

KB Gresitt, who organized a reading at Fallbrook Public Library and sweet-talked people into buying copies of my novel
Professor Butch Arroyo who orchestrated a three day marathon of readings and  networking with various Filipino groups in Washington D.C. and Virginia, doing so with a loose conglomeration of alumni that he named the Friends of Marivi Soliven.


Linda Nietes of Philippine Expressions Bookshop, who sold books at multiple readings on the East and West Coast.

Erwin de Leon, who moderated two Kapihan (coffee klatch) discussions about the novel and subsequently blogged about it on the Huffington Post.DSCN2127
Grazia Goseco, Mitzi Pickard and Myrna Lopez, who wined, dined and charmed their way around the Philippine Embassy’s rules to enable book sales onsite

Xandra Ramos Padilla, Miguel Ramos, Lola Tumaneng, James Abuan and the Incomparable Chad of National Book Store,  who flew me to Manila and choreographed a month-long series of campus lectures and readings in Manila and an all-day photo shoot that made  me feel like a homecoming queen/literary superstar.


Professors Butch Dalisay, Neil Garcia, Wendell Capilli, Ruth Pison, Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo, Ralph Galan, Kiko Benitez, Oscar Campomanes and Mailin Paterno Locsin, as well as Charlotte Kuo-Benitez and Zarah Gagatiga who arranged for lectures at the University of the Philippines, the University of Santo Tomas, Ateneo, Philippine Women’s University and Beacon Academy
Sonya Garcia of the mythic Sonya’s Garden who put copies of The Mango Bride in all of her honeymoon cottages and invited me to spend the night there

Ipat Luna – who staged the first dramatic reading of selected scenes from The Mango Bride at Sev’s Café

Howie Severino who sent his journalists to cover the event
Nina Daza-Puyat who arranged for a reading at Miriam College, our high school Alma Mater
Karina Bolasco and Professor Issy Reyes who timed an auxilliary reading for the Querida Anthology so that I could participate in it while in Manila

Carol Dominguez and Roxanne Aquino who organized a reading which resulted in the highest book sales for a single event in Manila. Carol later flew me to New York for another reading at the Philippine Center in October.
Lawrence Tan whose instagram photos of the event are the best candid shots of me. Ever.


Luis Katigbak, who brought The Mango Bride to male readers by featuring an article on it in Esquire Philippines.

Ambassador Harry Thomas who offered to host a dinner and reading at the American embassy in Manila. When typhoon Maring nixed that event, Ambassador Thomas and Mithi Aquino attended a subsequent reading in Tempe, AZ


Rolly Gosiengfiao who hosted an AIESEC Alumni reading in his aerie of a condo, and Mignon Wycoco and Bobby Ramos who took care of the logistics relating to that event

Roselle Monteverde, Girlie Rodis and Jun Lana, who are weaving their magic around a possible film adaptation..

Consul General Mario de Leon, Tess Dizon De Vega and Marivic Dimaculangan who most generously co-sponsored the event at the Philippine Center in New York

Suzanne Lansangan-Sabangan who organized a reading at Bergen Community College.

Merle Galang and Jovic Montecillo, Chit Consunji and Roxanne Aquino. who proved that decades after high school, we can still put together an epic party.DSCN3139
Sandra Harding – my fabulous editor at Penguin (even saying that phrase feels fabulous) who introduced me to  her  impossibly  young and talented team of  Book Designer Daniela Medina, Publicist Jessica Butler and Editorial Assistant Elizabeth Bistrow then took me to lunch in the Village just like they do in those glamorous films about novelists in New York.


Joseph Ramirez, Nancy Magpusao, and Edwina Welch at the  Cross Cultural Center,  who invited me to present the opening lecture for the Critical Filipino Studies Collective in October at UC San Diego.

Mrs. Wlodarski who asked me to speak  about the writing process to her sixth grade English class at Roosevelt Middle School.

Attorney Lemuel Carlos – who set up book event at Changing Hands Bookstore and hosted a reception at his home.


Edna Consing Concepcion who acknowledged The Mango Bride at the FilAmBid gala in San Diego.

Joy de Guzman and the formidably accomplished, incredibly charming women of Silayan Filipina, who integrated a reading  from the novel at their inaugural tea party in Chula Vista last November

My literary agents Jill Marsal and Taryn Fagerness, who landed me publishing deals with Penguin Books and Grupo Planeta, and to whom I owe my publishing life in the Western World.

Ruel de Vera at the Philippine Inquirer who named The Mango Bride one of the top 10 books of 2013:


Hannah Rubin and the good folks at Nanowrimo (whose writing marathon started me on this journey 5 years ago) who have invited me to blog on Nanowrimo about my path to publication in January, 2014

…and everyone who took the time to write an Amazon review.

Thank you, maraming maraming salamat to you all!

Front MangoBride_final-1

14 responses to “A Season of Gratitude”

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