Episode 82: Novelist Mode

For those who are following my adventures, I apologize for the long drought of posts here. I’m still working on writing crime novels at the moment, which explains why I haven’t been writing about food so much.
Stay with me for a while, though, as I tell you why. These past few months have been exciting.

As a recap, I joined the #JustWritePH workshop last July, and finished my first novel, “The Seven-Day Detective”, about a month later. The story goes as follows:

“Insp. Gene Bello is no stranger to rape cases, or speedy investigations. As a cadet, he was known as ‘The Seven-Day Detective’, having solved a serial rape incident in seven days. So when an NBI official asked him to handle a similar case, he was ready to take on the job… or so he thought. The case: a serial rapist targeting call center agents from Bonifacio Global City.
Luck is on Gene’s side, though. Four PUV drivers plying the EDSA-BGC routes have seen and interacted with the fifth victim. Each of them knew her well. Each of them, perhaps all of them, may hold the key to stop the next attack and find the suspect before he strikes again. But they have to hurry… All they have is seven days.”

Soon after that, I finished writing for Heist Club, a crime fiction class sponsored by Bronze Age Media, The Study by Enderun, and Buqo. Heist Club aims to open up the Filipino crime genre to a bigger audience, and entice more local authors to write crime stories.  This workshop ran from October 1 to November 7.
Participants were required to write a crime story worth 5,000 words or more in English, with a few conversations in foreign languages. The theme of the class is “Case Number 1”, which means it has the potential of becoming a series.

My story, essentially my second crime novel, is titled “Sampaguita”. The blurb I submitted to Heist Club says:
“Japanese expat and tycoon Keniichi Daimon has conflicting emotions for his second home, Manila. Despite Manila’s subtle beauty and charm, the corruption seeping deeply in the city has left him nearly apathetic of its future. But when his indifference leads to the death of a young flower vendor and his fiancée, his jaded view of Manila is shattered.
Keniichi, now driven by remorse, finds himself dragged into a world where the innocent are broken for the pleasures of the privileged and sinister few. Ignored by the police and spurned by the apathy of the people around him – the same apathy he once showed – he realizes the only way to make amends and seek justice is to take matters into his own hands.”


I also joined NaNoWriMo 2015, during which I rewrote and improved “The Seven-Day Detective”. Once I have it beta-read, re-edited, and polished, I intend to relaunch it, not only along with the Just Write PH #ForJustice bundle, but as a solo book. I intend to rewrite “Sampaguita” and do the same. But I’m thinking too way ahead and showing off my cards too much, huh?

Just because I’ve been busy writing about crime doesn’t mean I’ve shelved my food writing. In fact, you may want to visit my Instagram and Facebook page and see what I‘ve been up to and what I’ve been eating lately.
I mean, there are a lot of new places to dine that opened recently, and to say they were well-received and sought-after is an understatement, but I decided to lie low a bit, eat discreetly, and write about how good these places are when the hype around them dies down. (Also, once I have the budget to eat out.)

Stay tuned

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Twitter: @mtjmanalang
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Episode 81: A Sweet Afternoon at the "Inquirer Lifestyle Best Desserts 2" Launch

Dessert is no simple eating matter; in fact, one may say it’s the highlight of a perfect course meal. Be it the first or last course of every meal, nothing beats that burst of fruity, sugary, caramel-like, or chocolaty flavor in one’s mouth from a favorite candy, cake, or pastry.

It takes a lot of skill, aesthetic sense, and a mighty sweet tooth to create desserts that any sweet-loving creature would surely enjoy. Once in a while, we stumble upon desserts that can make us come back for more.

Inquirer Lifestyle compiled for the second time a marvelous list featuring the crème de la crème of confections around and outside the metro. These can be found through their newly-launched dessert guide “Best Desserts 2”.

I joined Giselle Maris Bacalla of Gpicks at the book launch of “Best Desserts 2” at the SMX Convention Center of SM Aura last October 26. There we sampled an incredible spread of cakes, candies, chocolates, pies, pastries, and pies that will surely make anyone with a sweet tooth drool and faint with joy. We also met some of the dessert makers and home bakers behind these tasty treats.

There just happened to be so many desserts to try out that for a moment, our stomachs and blood sugar levels would give up. But the chance to sample all these treats was worth it.

To know more about these top desserts and where to find them, grab a copy of the Inquirer Lifestyle “Best Desserts 2” at your favorite bookstores. There should also be a copy of the first “Best Desserts” around somewhere, for those who want to look back.