Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine (and a friend of hers) put up an online romance journal called Clara Romance, where they feature short stories from various Filipino authors. I've been visiting their website a couple of times now and I really love the sweet and soft tones used.

The first volume is out, and I decided to take a quick break and read one of the short stories from one of my fave Filipino authors, Mina V. Esguerra.


Clara is a quarterly online romance journal that aims to be a repository for romantic short stories written by Filipinos and featuring Filipino characters. Through carefully curated digital quarterly publications, Clara hopes to cultivate an active community of romance readers and writers from all walks of life.

Why Clara?

Clara is the strong, contemporary Filipina. She’s someone who knows what she wants and is unafraid to take risks and pursue her dreams. She values her tradition and culture, but also embraces the changing world. Hindi makitid ang utak. Hindi mahina ang loob.

Title:       Extraordinary [Head First and Fearless, issue 01]
Author:   Mina V. Esguerra
Rating:   ★★★1/2
Availability: Online @ Clara Romance

In the future, maybe, Maria Lourdes and Andres Miguel will be their country’s best and most influential leaders. But today they’re just college kids who want to be together.

Since it's an online journal, you juts need to click on the two links above. The Head First and Fearless link will take you to the page where you can choose the short story of your choosing. I chose Extraordinary because it's from Mina, and I've had the pleasure of reading several books from her already, most of which I enjoyed (shoutout to one of my favorites - the Scambitious series!).

I like to read short stories because they help to fill out the time when I'm on a break -- in this case, I started working at 7am and found myself with a bit of time before work officially started at 9am. However, with the case of Extraordinary, I found that it was too short. I know short stories are meant to be short, but I was lost with a few of the terms because I couldn't understand what TSL and PSO meant, and they weren't explained. I wish a few lines could have been added to explain them. But I think the twist at the end, which cleared up the confusion in the first two pages, was beautifully done (and can qualify for political wishful thinking!).

What I especially like about it, as with Mina's other short stories, is that with few concise words, you know what's happening. She doesn't have to go into explicit/graphic detail for us to know that things are happening between the sheets. The love scenes depict that -- love, and they have a huge serving of romance and kilig. I hope this will be like a serial stories like they did back in the day, or like Mina did with Scambitious.

So if you're looking for a light, entertaining read to get you through the horrendous traffic/long lines for the train/MRT/jeepneys/UV Express vans, I highly recommend taking a chance on Extraordinary.

About the Author:
Mina V. Esguerra learned everything she needed to know about writing romances from Sweet Dreams novels and the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series. When not working as a communications consultant, she writes contemporary romance, young adult, and new adult novels. When not working and writing, she's hanging out with her husband and daughter.

About the Editors (of Clara Romance):
Anne Plaza has a degree in Psychology, but has actively pursued a career in writing as a reporter and online editor. Aside from writing, she loves reading romance books, and an occasional fantasy and historical novel (but with romance subplots). She also collects stamps and postcards, and enjoys traveling whenever time and budget allows.

Chris Mariano writes romance and speculative fiction (and on certain occasions, both at the same time). Her work has appeared in the 3rd Philippine Graphic Fiction Prose Anthology, Philippine Speculative Fiction Vol 7, TAYO Literary Magazine, and the Philippines Free Press. She used to edit for a living but now does it for free dinner.

**Quickstop Tuesdays is a feature in My Book Musings where I review books/comic books/graphic novels that have less than 200 pages, on Tuesdays.