Friday, May 3, 2024

Creative Writing Tips by Fiction Writer Cecilia Brainard


I'm sharing Creative Writing Tips that I've developed after writing, editing of over 20 books. I have been teaching and lecturing about Creative Writing for decades. My official website is ceciliabrainarddotcom.

Creative Writing Tips # 1- Write in a Sensuous Way

Creative Writing Tip #2 - Make a Date with Your Muse

Creative Writing Tip #3 - Show Don't Tell 

Creative Writing Tip #4 -  Writer's Block

Creative Writing Tip #5 - Complex vs Flat Characters

Creative Writing Tip #6 - Writing Space

Creative Writing Tip #7 - What Is Your Story?

Tags: how to write, creative writing, creative writing journey, fiction writing

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Manny Gonzalez on the Palestine Crisis


Manny Gonzalez, who is noted for being the CEO and principal owner of the the famous resort in Mactan Cebu, Plantation Bay, is also a writer. He writes of his travels, of food, and he also explores complex international issues such as the current Palestine crisis. 


 He has written about this problem -- he is a columnist at the Philippine Star --- and he has also created a four part video.  You can watch "The Non-Zero-Sum Solution to the Palestine Crisis" here:  


Video 1: Prisoners of their Expertise 

Video 2: Not Two-States-Side-by-Side, but Two States Far Apart !

Video 3: If We Build New Palestine, They Will Come


Here also is his link to his articles at the Philippine Star

Read also:

My Cousin, The Biz Wiz: Profile on Manny Gonzalez 

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Certificates of Recognition - Cecilia Brainard

I have not been diligent in documenting Certificates of Recognition that I've received. Here are some recent ones: from the Cebuano Studies Center, Philippine Embassies in D.C. and Jedda, CTU, UP Cebu, CTU, Miriam College. LEAP, Capiz State U.

I'll add any more I find in my filing cabinet. Many thanks to the various institutions for the recognition.








tags: Philippine awards, Filipino awards and recognition


Thursday, December 21, 2023

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, from Cecilia Brainard


I wish all my readers the best this holiday season! Blessings to you and your loved ones.

I am sharing with you a poem that appeared in the November 2024 issue of the Philippine Graphic.  I do not always write poetry so this is "rare" if you will. Further, the Graphic, along with Focus Philippines and Mr. & Ms. were some of the magazines that published my early writings, and so this publication of "My Mother's Skirts" is special to me.

You can still get a copy of the November 2023 Graphic from Lazada.  To those abroad, I am sharing this snapshot of the cover and page with my story. 

Tags: Christmas story, Cecilia Brainard poems, Philippine literature,  Cebuano literature 

Monday, December 11, 2023

Interview of Author Cecilia Brainard by Lennie Jean Panugaling


Interview of Cecilia Brainard by Lennie Jean Panugaling from Carcar City College

Language Research Subject “The Heart of Cecilia Manguerra’s Masterpieces”

Stories studied: A Very Short Story, Flying a Kite, My Mother Is Dying

Hello Lennie Jean,

Thank you for the interview. I recommend that you also do research about my work aside from the three short shorts. Recommended links:   (Check out interviews and sources) (On the side are “Cecilia Brainard Fiction” for more stories that you can read, including novel excerpts)  (The Cebuana in the World: Cecilia Manguerra Brainard Writing Out of Cebu. Watch documentary, and please “Like” on Youtube. Thank you.)

Interviewer: Yesterday, our panelists were excited to find out that you responded to me on Facebook, leaving them intrigued about the prevalence of heartbreak in your stories. As you navigate the creative process, what influences or thoughts guide you to infuse your narratives with poignant emotions? Are personal painful memories a significant source of inspiration for you?

Cecilia Brainard:  You have chosen three of my stories referred to as Fast Fiction or Short Shorts, meaning each story is under a thousand words long. Stories this short are written in a precise way, with each word having relevance in the story. In some ways, they are almost like poetry.

Why do my stories deal with poignant emotions? Are personal painful memories a significant source of inspiration for me?

 Two important elements of story telling are “character” and “conflict”. If you analyze good stories, you will find that there is a main character who has some kind of conflict or problem. The story revolves around how the character deals with the conflict. Stories will involve the emotions of the characters. There are other elements in storytelling like plot, dialogue, voice, and so on, but I’m focusing on these two elements in order to answer your question. If you write of a character who doesn’t have conflict, who is perfectly happy for instance, you will not have a story. A character without conflict or a problem will have no challenges; he/she will not be motivated to do anything; your written work will be static or will meander and boring.

            This is why when I work with my characters, when I am figuring out their stories, I have to find out what their conflicts/problems are. And I have to find out how my characters will respond to these conflicts (or stresses). The decisions they make in response to their conflicts constitute what we call plot. Their emotional reactions and changes are called character development (or character arc); and this is what makes the piece feel like a story.

            To answer your second question about whether personal painful memories are a significant source of inspiration for me: I don’t rely solely on my memories for inspiration, but draw from history, from folklore, from personal observation of the people I have come across. For instance, my first novel When the Rainbow Goddess is about World War Two in the Philippines. I used many stories I heard from my parents in this novel. I have many stories that have been inspired by my childhood in Cebu, and these stories integrate memories of the people I knew or had seen and my own personal life.

 Check out the documentary about me The Cebuana in the World: Cecilia Manguerra Brainard Writing Out of Cebu – see link above. The documentary will give you an idea of the various stories I tell and where they come from.

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Interview of Author Cecilia Brainard by Cris Al Maglinte Cagoscos


For Cris Al Maglinte Cagoscos & Classmates

Cebu Technology University-Moalboal Campus

“Literary Analysis: Narrative Strategies and Cultural Implications in Cecilia Manguerra Brainard

Short Stories”

Re "Flip Gothic" and "Woman with Horns", we would like to ask what inspired and motivated you to write these two stories and how they relate to your past experiences.

Hi, Cris,

Thank you and your classmates for your interest.

I highly recommend that you do some research as well about my work – see links below, and there are more links listed in my official website. 

Recommended Links: - Click on “About” and check out Interviews and Sources

The Cebuana in the World: Cecilia Manguerra Brainard Writing Out of Cebu -

Visit and search “Woman With Horns” and “Flip Gothic” in my blog:

Re Woman with Horns

Woman with Horns was one of my earlier short stories when I was interested in the historical background of Cebu, albeit transformed as Ubec in my imagination. In schools I had been taught that “Magellan discovered the Philippines” which I realized was a fallacy because the Philippines had people way before Magellan showed up. In other words that statement “Magellan discovered the Philippines” was coming from a Eurocentric point of view. I was keenly aware of the Western orientation in the Philippines, by the books we read, the movies that we saw, the music that we danced to, our awe at American or European cultures.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Travel - 15-day Cruise Princess Cruise to Hawaii


I am incredibly behind with my blogging, so I've gone ahead and posted some pictures taken during our 15-day Princess Cruise to Hawaii. I'll try to fill in later on, in the meantime, enjoy the pictures. 

Ports of Call: Los Angeles, Big Island (Hilo), Oahu (Honolulu), Kauai (Kawiliwili Harbor), Big Island (Kona), Ensenada

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Travel - San Miguel De Allende: A Mexican Heritage


For your weekend reading, take a trip to Mexico and read "San Miguel De Allende: A Mexican Heritage Jewel" by Cecilia Brainard, published in Positively Filipino.

Please "like" at the bottom of the

article. Thank you and have a great weekend coming up! 


Tags: Mexico travel, SMA travel, San Miguel travel, holiday, Mexican holiday 

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Growing Up Filipino 3 Finalist for 41st National Book Awards


I just learned that the book, GROWING UP FILIPINO 3 is a finalist for the 41st National Book Award (Anthology, English). 
I am grateful to the National Book Development Board – Philippines, Manila Critics Circle, UST Publishing House, and contributors to the anthology:
Gina Apostol, Kannika Pena, Jack Wigley, Veronica Montes, Nikki Alfar, Yvette Fernandez, Danton Remoto, Cecilia Brainard, George Deoso, Patricia Manuel Go, Migs Bravo Dutt, Ian Casocot, James Fajarito, Sarge Lacuesta, Dom Sy, Eileen Tabios, Marianne Villanueva, Marilyn Alquizola, Brian Roley, Patrick Joseph Caoile, Zak Linmark, Linda Ty-Casper, Renee Macalino Rutledge, Noelle De Jesus, and Oscar Penaranda.
The anthology Growing Up Filipino 3 is available from the UST bookstore, Lazada, Shopee, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. Look for it at Fully Booked as well.
For Book Reviews about Growing Up Filipino 3 - please click here: 


Tags: Filipino YA books, Filipino YA fiction, FilAm literature, FilAm YA, Filipino teens, Filipino youths, Filipino American youths

Monday, September 25, 2023

Excerpt from THE INVENTOR by Eileen R. Tabios


Following is an excerpt from Eileen R. Tabios' recent book, The Inventor. It is reprinted with her permission. 

Marsh Hawk Press’ Introduction of THE INVENTOR by Eileen R. Tabios:

In 2023, Marsh Hawk Press releases Eileen R. Tabios’ THE INVENTOR, a unique project for providing insights into creating poetic forms against an autobiographical background and part of our “Chapter One” series acclaimed by Publishers Weekly for presenting the writers’ craft in real life. From Eileen R. Tabios: “I wrote THE INVENTOR, not because it’s about my life but, because it’s an autobiography that connects history, language, and poetry in a unique way beyond narratives. I learned English because it became widespread in my birth land, the Philippines, through U.S. colonialism. That caused me, as a young poet, to feel estranged from my raw material: English. My poetry practice, however, would lift me out of politics to meet poetry more directly as its own type of language. Ultimately, my prolonged engagement with poetry enabled me to create poetry inventions that metaphorically disrupts colonialism by generating communities of readers and writers worldwide. These inventions include the hay(na)ku which has spread globally among poets and the “Flooid” whose pre-writing condition precedent of a “good deed” makes poetry live redemptively and beyond the page. In THE INVENTOR, I show how Poetry is not mere words but a proactive approach to improving our relationships with each other and life on our planet.”




Today, I'm honoring Filipino American writer EILEEN R. TABIOS.

Eileen R. Tabios has released over 70 collections of poetry, fiction, essays, and experimental biographies from publishers headquartered in 10 countries and cyberspace. In 2023 she released the poetry collection Because I Love You, I Become War; an autobiography, The Inventor: A Transcolonial Poet’s Autobiography; and her first flash fiction collection, Getting To One (in collaboration with harry k stammer). Other recent books include a first novel DoveLion: A Fairy Tale for Our Times; two French books, PRISES (trans. Fanny Garin) and La Vie erotique de l’art (trans. Samuel Rochery); and a book-length essay Kapwa’s Novels. In 2024, her books include KalapatiLeon, Danton Remoto’s Filipino translation of DoveLion (University of Santo Tomas Press).


Sunday, September 24, 2023

John Hanley - Irish American Friend


We lost a friend, John Hanley. For years, John played golf with my husband, and they had great fun at the course and at the pub afterwards. Guinness was John's favorite.

When we visited Ireland in 2008, John (who was born in Ireland) happened to be there, and he met us for a day. Knowing I was a Marian devotee, he brought us to the Basilica of Our Lady of Knock.  From Knock, we visited his cousin who has a peat-burning stove.  He explained how families were entitled to digging peat for their use. We had tea and talked and had a very lovely time. 

Not too long ago, John got ill and passed away.  We are very sad about this and extend our sincerest condolences to his family and friends. 

Here are some pictures taken in Ireland with John.  







Rest in peace, John Hanley!

 tags: RIP, friendship, Irish American

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Gintong Aklat Finalist - Selected Short Stories by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard

 My collection SELECTED SHORT STORIES BY CECILIA MANGUERRA BRAINARD is a Finalist for the Gintong Aklat Award 2022 (fiction in English). The same book won the 40th National Book Award (Short Fiction English).


If you are going to the 44th Manila International Fair, please look for my book at the booth of the publisher University of Santo Tomas Publishing House

In the Philippines look for the book on Lazada and Shopee as well. You can find the book in Amazon, Barnes and Noble for an easy purchase.

Selected Short Stories by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard collects 39 of the Filipina American author’s short fiction. The collection includes some of her best short fiction, including stories that deal with fictional Manila and Mexico, Intramuros and Acapulco, Ubec and Cebu.

Selected Short Stories includes a very long story (one would call it a novella), “Melisande in Paris”, which is about the French seamstress who appears in Cecilia’s third novel, The Newspaper Widow. Melisande is the friend of the protagonist in the literary mystery The Newspaper Widow. Melisande and Ines solve the crime of the dead priest in Ubec’s creek. But Melisande had a whole other story back in Paris before she went to Ubec. “Melisande in Paris” is that story.
For more information about the book, please click on this site:

Tags: Filipino books, Filipino authors, Pinoy books, FilAm books, Philippine literature, Filipino book awards

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Fil Am Writers Gather in Santa Monica, CA


A group of us had lunch at my home with the writer Brian Ascalon Roley (author American Son) who's visiting Santa Monica, CA. Present were: Joselyn Geaga-Rosenthal, Brian Roley, Marilyn Alquizola (America is in the Heart: a Personal History revised), Jaime Geaga, Noel Alumit (author Letters to Montgomery Clift), and me.
We had such great fun talking about literature, politics, being Filipino/Fil-am, and other topics.
We are planning another get together when Brian returns, and that will be in Historic Filipino Town, LA.


I'm sharing photos that we took. The selfie shows, l-r: Noel, Jaime, Cecilia (in red) , Brian, Joselyn (in yellow), and Marilyn.
We missed Herminia Menez Coben,  Paulino and Barbara Lim.




Tags: Filipino American writers, FilAm writers, FilAm literature

Magnificat - Mary's House in Ephesus, Turkey

The ferocious wildfires in Maui have destroyed most of Lahaina, but miraculously, the Maria Lanakila Church remains standing. This event reminds me of how Mary's House was spared during a 2006 fire  in Ephesus that wiped out 1,200 hectares of forest but stopped just meters away from Mary's House. 

I'm sharing my writeup as a testament of Mary's greatness. This is part of MAGNIFICAT: MAMA MARY'S PILGRIM SITES, a book I edited. The publisher Anvil has some copies online, and you can also find it in ebook form (Kindle). 

Mother Mary, pray for us!


Cecilia Manguerra Brainard


            IN 2006, my husband and I were on a cruise to the Baltic. We had a one-day stop in the port of Kusadasi, Turkey and we took a day tour to Ephesus, where we saw the ruins of this great Roman city. We also visited the Basilica of St. John, where the traditional tomb of St. John’s was located under the central dome. Although now in ruins, the Basilica made me understand that this site was where John the Beloved and Mother Mary had settled, after Christ’s Crucifixion. I recalled how Christ had entrusted Mary to John, and John to Mary, with His words: “Behold your mother. Woman behold your son.”