Good Night, Lala (2013, Adarna House)
What was intended as a personal legacy of my mother, Corazon O. Calica, to her grandkids evolved into a collection of her childhood stories that sparkle with wonder in war-torn Pampanga. Called “Lala” by her apos, my mother shares tales of playful dwende and magical stones amidst threats of air raids and Japanese soldiers plundering barrios. Older kids will enjoy reading adventures of another era, made more delightful with intricate embroidered illustrations by me.
Trivia: The book was made just for relatives, but my sister Michi handed it to the lovely people of Adarna House. The rest is history, and now everyone can enjoy Lala’s stories.
Buy it here (put link of Adarna)
The Breakup Diaries (2003, Summit Books)
Barista Monica Tanseco never anticipated heartbreak — at least not on the eve of her first anniversary with Itos, her hotshot lawyer boyfriend. She goes through all stages of breakup remorse. But as she rides out the rollercoaster-like emotions of her recovery, she stumbles into the mad world of women’s magazines, where a cute photographer’s assistant catches her eye. Never mind if her major bitch of an editor treats her like dirt — the new job reveals a side of herself she never knew existed, and tickles her heart with the prospect of new love. Cover illustration for the original book was by my good friend, Lizza Gutierrez (at left), but the 2012 edition was illustrated by the talented Mikke Gallardo, my former art director in Candy magazine.
Trivia: The book became a bestseller six months after its release, going into second printing in less than a year. It was adapted into a five-episode series for Love Books on ABC-5 in October 2008.
Undercover Tai Tai (2008, Marshall Cavendish)
Amanda Tay is a loner, a woman who prefers to tiptoe around life than run through it. But a chance encounter in a Capoeira class with Agent Brian, a dashing but depressed intelligence operative, forces her out of her invisible existence and into the dangerous but glamorous life of espionage. The case at hand: investigating the disappearance of a high-profile tai tai (aka socialite wife of prominent businessman). Join Amanda as she tries to solve the mystery in lash extensions and Christian Louboutins. With exotic locales, action, romance and a crime-fighting Chihuahua, it’s the perfect beach read!
Trivia: I churned out the first draft of this book in 30 days using Chris Baty’s techniques in No Plot, No Problem!
A Summer Day of Nothing But Everything (2010, Gawad Kalinga Press)
This heart-warming story about a family who goes on a life-changing Gawad Kalinga build trip was created especially for the GK Summit held last June 25-27, 2010. The book is written by Palanca Award-winning fictionist Noelle Q. de Jesus, who invited me to illustrate the book. Art direction was by Orland Punzalan.