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“How shall freedom be defended? By arms when it is attacked by arms, by truth when it is attacked by lies, by faith when it is attacked by authoritarian dogma. Always, in the final act, by determination and faith.” ― Archibald MacLeish

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“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it--always.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

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“How shall freedom be defended? By arms when it is attacked by arms, by truth when it is attacked by lies, by faith when it is attacked by authoritarian dogma. Always, in the final act, by determination and faith.”

― Archibald MacLeish

Friday, July 26, 2013

Samantha Sotto("Before Ever After" author): How Ninoy became her champion.

August 21, 1983
In 1983, exiled opposition leader and former Philippine Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino was assassinated on the tarmac of Manila International Airport despite a massive security detail provided by the Marcos regime.
The death was captured on television and by many high profile media organizations including TIME.  At the time, son "Noynoy" was in his early 20s and living in exile in Boston, Massachusetts with the rest of the Aquino family. Ninoy had served as a fellow at Harvard.
Ninoy's death further strengthened Filipinos' opposition to Ferdinand Marcos' dictatorship and catapulted Ninoy's wife, Cory, to the presidency in 1986.
For the Aquino family, including son Noynoy, tragedy had turned to triumph. 
Ninoy had become a symbol of the lost promise to all the children born under the martial law regime of Ferdinand Marcos.
In 1984, The Benigno Aquino Jr. Foundation sponsored  an essay-writing contest on the theme “What Aug. 21, 1983 means to Me”. 
Sam Sotto (born a year after martial law was declared) was deeply touched by Ninoy's heroic act. The 11-year old grade school student  from Benedictine Abbey School-Alabang (now San Beda College-Alabang) decided to submit an entry to the essay-writing contest.
In those dark days of gloom in the country, it was not the easiest thing to do, even for a kid, considering how the Marcos authoritarian regime stifled any kind of news about Ninoy in all media.
Fortunately, Sam's piece won in the the English category (grade school level) of the essay writing contest.
Sam Sotto, 11 years old, with our beloved Tita Cory
during the awarding ceremonies.
Sam Sotto is now an international author and mother of two kids.
BORACAY
"God, she decided as she waded away from the outrigger
that had ferried them to the island,
was selfish and this was where God hoarded
beauty like a secret stash of chocolates."
Excerpt from "Before Ever After " novel by Samantha Sotto

"Before Ever After"
An international best-selling  novel by Filipino author Samantha Sotto is turning out to be a strong tourism pitch for Boracay island.
Ever wonder how to say Before Ever After in Polish? 
Now in Polish edition!
"My being Filipino was definitely a plus."
“During a courtesy call in the Philippine embassy in Washington, Ms.Sotto informed Philippine ambassador to the U.S., Jose Cuisia Jr. that while the setting of her novel is Europe, the famous island resort of Boracay in the Philippines is an important location in the story,” the Philippine Embassy to Washington D.C. said in a news release.
“My being Filipino was definitely a plus. My living overseas was not an issue at all with my publisher,” added Sotto, who lives in the Philippines.
Also, she said there are no barriers to Filipino talent and one of her goals in being an author is to raise awareness about the Philippines.
Ambassador Cuisia expressed pride at the achievement of Ms. Sotto, who wrote her book at a coffee shop while waiting for her son to get off school. The Ambassador urged Ms. Sotto to continue with her good work to showcase Filipino talent not just in the US but in many parts of the world.
"A smartly written romance, mystery and historical adventure all wrapped up in a page-turner that will have you guessing until the very end." – Adena Halpern, author of The Ten Best Days of My Life 
 AMAZON: Book Description
Three years after her husband Max's death, Shelley feels no more adjusted to being a widow than she did that first terrible day. That is, until the doorbell rings. Standing on her front step is a young man who looks so much like Max–same smile, same eyes, same age, same adorable bump in his nose–he could be Max's long-lost relation. He introduces himself as Paolo, an Italian editor of American coffee table books, and shows Shelley some childhood photos. Paolo tells her that the man in the photos, the bearded man who Paolo says is his grandfather though he never seems to age, is Max. Her Max. And he is alive and well.
As outrageous as Paolo's claims seem–how could her husband be alive? And if he is, why hasn't he looked her up? – Shelley desperately wants to know the truth. She and Paolo jet across the globe to track Max down–if it is really Max– and along the way, Shelley recounts the European package tour where they had met. As she relives Max's stories of bloody Parisian barricades, medieval Austrian kitchens, and buried Roman boathouses, Shelley begins to piece together the story of who her husband was and what these new revelations mean for her "happily ever after." And as she and Paolo get closer to the truth, Shelley discovers that not all stories end where they are supposed to.
From the Hardcover edition. Amazon
Before Ever After: International Bestselling Novel
Latest AMAZON Reviews:
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive debut novel, February 1, 2014
By Debra King (Newark, NJ United States) - See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Before Ever After: A Novel (Kindle Edition)
This book has an imaginative plot and the story held my interest with its mix of the real, the historical and the romantic. I raced through it. I am looking forward to the book club discussion on this one!
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite!, December 3, 2013
By Amazon Customer (Vass, NC United States) - See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Before Ever After: A Novel (Kindle Edition)
This was suspenseful and romantic with really interesting bits of history woven in to believable supernatural elements. What more could a girl ask for?!
Before Ever After: a Novel., September 10, 2013
By Margaret D. Taylor - See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Before Ever After: A Novel (Kindle Edition)
I enjoyed this story. Though purely fantasy it kept my interest and it was hard to put down. Sweet and sad very likeable characters.