Looking for a life makeover? Grab an issue of the January-February 2016 issue of Good Housekeeping Philippines for tips on how to eat well, become physically and financially fit, and take chances on love again, beginning with the cover story of Heart Evangelista.
Publication Date: October 2003
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Twenty-eight year-old copywriter Karen has finally found bliss in the arms of a new boy, Bert Reyno, the very same one who stepped into her life when ex-flame Miko the Cheat stepped out.
Will the fun last all the way to the altar, or is it doomed to lose steam on the race down the aisle?
Learn a lesson from the past and don't tell your friends (except Janice who's a big fan of Bert that you thought she'd appreciate the news), or your family, that you are, once again, for the second time in less than a year and a half, engaged.
After a traumatic engagement to a man who eventually cheated on her, 28-year-old Karen is, once again, committed - this time to a seemingly perfect guy named Bert Reyno. And their year-old relationship rocks: she finds him funny and sweet, he thinks she's amusing and sexy, the conversation is satisfying and the sex is great... so why not get married?
But the ghosts or relationships past keep coming back to haunt her and suddenly, Bert seems to good to be true. Determined to spare herself from future heartbreak, Karen goes on a soul-searching trip, only to find herself buried in even more doubts: Is she ready to grow old and wrinkly with Bert? What about all the other hot guys? And is Bert like every other cheating male?
Will she ever learn to completely love and trust someone again - without thinking the whole thing is just a Wow, Mali! scam?
Written by Tara FT Sering, Summit Books editor and multi-awarded writer, Almost Married is the sequel to the free novel in Cosmopolitan Philippines in 2003, Getting Better.
In Tagaytay, bask in the bliss of warm couplehood. Decide that this is definitely payback for having endured terrible heartbreak. After large servings of tawilis and rice, Bert suggests waiting out the downpour parked by a deserted shed along the ridge. No one else is out today because of the heavy rain and the thick fog, and suddenly you feel like sliding up to Bert and whispering coyly into his ear with your breath hot and heavy.
When Bert switches the radio to a station playing old school R and B, realize he has the same thing in mind. Bite your lower lip as he casually rests a meaningful hand on your knee. He looks out the windshield and out his window to see if anyone is around, talking absently about the weather and what a nice, bright day it is. Notice that it's dark and purple outside and that coconut trees are practically getting uprooted by the storm. Smile to yourself; you've always fantasized about fooling around with Bert in the great outdoors, so even if you can't really see anything outside because of the heavy rain (and that technically you're not outdoors), shift sexily in your seat.
Bert's hand squeezes your knee and travels up your thigh, and when he finally faces you, he is grinning like the typical Hollywood movie bad guy. The thing with Bert is that he knows exactly when you're in the mood for slow and soulful lovemaking, or when you're up for an intense, head-thrown-back-moaning-and-laughing kind of romp. Today he senses you're in the mood for villains who don't give a shit about time and place and expensive clothing, and as you both recline your seats, he wastes no time in lunging for you, climbing on top of you, ripping off your linen top, breathing heavily down your neck, and slipping his warm, hungry hands under your shirt, your pants, your underpants. He nibbles your ear and playfully blows into it - he knows you get tickled to blissful death by that, and suddenly you're a bubbling heap of shrieks and giggles, oohs and aahs.
Slip your hand under his pants and feel him hard and swollen. He closes his eyes and looks lost in pleasure, and when he finally opens them, he freezes.
"What? What's wrong?"
He swallows. "Honey, we didn't fog up the windows enough... "
His face stiffens and he closes his eyes. He can't speak.
Get up and turn to see that the rain had stopped and that a white coaster had driven up behind the car. It appears that everyone in it is plastered to the large windshield, so that all you see is a wall of gaping faces-men and women who, you imagine, are all over 60. They look shell-shocked. A little more action and some of them might have croaked and flipped back into eternal sleep. When you and Bert button up and drive away red-faced and ready to burst out laughing hysterically, you catch a glimpse of the streamer on the side of the small bus. It reads "Senior Citizens of the Philippines Getting to Know You Day Tour."
"You think we were inspiring enough?" Bert asks on the drive home.
You still can't believe you did it in front of a live audience. "I think so," you concede. "We were hot. But shit, I can't believe we did it in public."
He takes your hand. "OK lang 'yan, sweetie. Think of it as super major PDA." When the laughter subsides, he adds, "At least that's one more thing you can cross off your to-do list."
by Lynn Lopez
Remember Getting Better, that special book released along with your copy of Cosmopolitan last October? I'm sure you do, because it served as a guide in going through life and love's up and downs. What about Karen, the quirky heroine whom you all loved and rooted for as she got over her cheating ex-boyfriend and found love in the arms of the man named Bert Reyno? Well, we've got a surprise for you! Summit Books is coming out with a sequel to Getting Better titled Almost Married. You'll all be treated to a whole new story and a fun ride as Karen enters different phase in her life. This month, Female Network sat down with Almost Married's author Tara FT Sering. Read on as she talks about writing, Chick Lit, and her latest book.
Tell us what Almost Married is about.
Almost Married is the sequel to Getting Better, so it's next chapter in the life of Karen the Copywriter who is now engaged--again--to her boyfriend of one year, Bert Reyno. It's also about deciding when to get married, and under what circumstances, and about whether or not you have to get married at all.
What made you decide to write a sequel to Getting Better?
I decided to write a sequel because of the readers' response to the first book. They seemed to really like the characters and many of those who sent feedback to Summit Books were asking if there was going to be a sequel. Ano ba daw kasi ang tunay na ending.
There's been a really good response to Getting Better. Do you think Almost Married would generate the same buzz?
I hope it does! It's the first time Summit Books is doing a sequel, so if our readers enjoy continuing stories, we will hopefully ask our other authors to write sequels to the other books--Drama Queen and The Breakup Diaries.
You write about Karen's fears and paranoia so well. Have you ever found yourself in situations similar to hers?
Sometimes. I won't elaborate on which ones, but her fears are pretty much common to most women her age, and that's easy to see based on the lives of my friends. They might kill me for saying this but really, many of the anxieties of Karen are borrowed from the lives of my friends, so even if they're not necessarily my anxieties, I'm fairly familiar with them.
Everyone adored Karen in the first book. How much has she grown and changed in Almost Married?
Unfortunately, I don't know if she grew up at all, or if she displays any marked difference in outlook and mentality. Of course she changed because of her experiences, but the problem that confronts her this time around is somewhat new, so she reacts a bit differently. I don't know if it's the grown-up thing to do, but sometimes, in the face of grave stress, it's possible to maintain poise!
Do you have any plans to follow up Almost Married with another story about Karen's adventures as a bride-to-be or a newlywed?
Not at the moment. We'll be waiting for the response to Almost Married--if readers what to read more about Karen, then maybe we'll pursue that. But for now, we're getting ready with other titles but other writers. After Almost Married, we're releasing another book by another author with a different writing style and a different set of characters. It's called "Mr. Write".
What got you started on writing?
I started writing fiction when I was 15, but of course the things I wrote then sound crazy now. But it was good practice to spend hours on my typewriter (I'm slightly old) dreaming up stories.
Who are your literary influences?
For my foreign influences, I like the Dead White Guys Brigade: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, E.M. Forster. Then there's Joh Updike, but he's still around. For the women, I like Jane Austen, Lorrie Moore, Bharati Mukherjee, Ann Tyler, Isabel Huggan and my new idol Elizabeth McCracken, to name some. For local writers, my idol is Greg Brillantes and my female teachers, Jing Hidalgo and CJ Maraan, have made a big impact on me.
How would you describe your writing style?
I'd like to think of my style as contemporary. also, A lot of my characters are composites of all the people i know. I like mixing personalities to make a new fictional one.
When you write anything of the "Chick Lit" genre, what considerations do you take note of?
First, the main character. she has to be the kind that women can empathize with. It doesn't matter who she is as long as she's sympatica. and since this is Pinay chick lit, the Pinay world has to be felt--from the personal issues, to the physical setting, to the general locale of the story. As for language, it has to be quick and contemporary--chick lit is not out to burden the reader with intense emotional issues, although that's there in subtle instances.
Since you came out with Getting Better, a lot of women have been wondering if you would give writing workshops to aspiring writers. Any plans to take them up on that idea?
Oh yes! I actually give writing workshops when time permits, or when schools invite me for a day. I find it encouraging that many people want to write, although it takes more than a two-day writing workshop for good work to emerge. Our universities have very good writing programs--UP and DLSU are the schools I went to, and I really learned a lot. The teachers are very very generous with what they know.