Blog Tour Guest Post + Giveaway: COVER (STORY) GIRL by Chris Mariano

Welcome to another visit from Book Junkie Blog Tours! Today’s guest blog post comes from Chris Mariano, author of the #romanceclass novella Cover (Story) Girl

Here’s a little bit about the story:

1) She has amnesia.
2) She’s on the run from her father’s creditors.
3) She’s enjoying her last days on earth.

Ever since Jang Min Hee walked into Gio’s small museum, she’s given him one excuse after another about why she’s vacationing at scenic Boracay Island. Rarely has Gio’s neat and organized world been shaken like this. Soon he finds himself scrambling over rocks, hiding in dressing rooms, and dragging her out of bars. But how can Gio tell what’s true from what isn’t? Their worlds are getting unraveled — one story at a time.

The whole story is set in Chris’ home province of Aklan, which also includes the resort island of Boracay – but there’s more to Aklan than just sandy beaches and chilled-out tourists. Here, Chris writes about penning a love story devoted to the place that she calls home.

I’ve always wanted to write about Aklan. When #romanceclass came my way, I saw an opportunity to situate a love story in my home province, far away from the skyscrapers and traffic of the city. I knew a lot of people would write about Manila anyway. Plus, there was a plot that I’ve been meaning to explore. It seemed that I can bring these two elements together in just one story.

To those who may not be too familiar with Philippine geography, Aklan is on Panay Island in Region VI. Its primary industry is agriculture, but it’s also home to a lot of crafts involving abaca and piña weaving. I should know — my grandfather was a farmer and my grandmother is a weaver. Whether I’m in Aklan or in Manila, I’m surrounded by piña cloth. Sometimes, I’d even have strands of pineapple fiber clinging to my clothes and slippers! It’s a part of our cultural heritage that I’m really proud of (piña weaving, I mean, not removing fiber from my shirt).

So I mean it when I say that I love Aklan and most of the things about it, including Boracay. But I don’t want to fight the hype about the island. I’m also not going to claim that tourists should nix White Beach and Bulabog. Boracay’s excitement and lifestyle attracts people who may not be looking for the simpler joys of walking on a rickety bamboo bridge in a mangrove forest or watching someone weave a few inches of piña cloth. Believe me, I completely understand that! That’s why I used it as my primary setting in the first place; people might be likelier to read about a summer fling at a famous beach than they would a romance set in a quiet town where nothing ever happens.

But what I will say is this: there is more to the province than just houses on the road from Kalibo Airport to Caticlan Jetty Port. I  hope that Cover (Story) Girl showed a little of that. Just as Gio drew Min Hee from the island and to other sights and things worth considering, I similarly wanted to let readers see beyond the pub crawls and the fire dancers and the pasalubong shopping. I tried to use what I knew and what people told me so that I can give readers a realistic (though admittedly slightly ideal) depiction of a place I love and call ‘home.’



Cover (Story) Girl is Chris Mariano’s first published romance work, but her speculative fiction and poetry have appeared in Fully Booked’s Philippine Graphic/Fiction Awards Prose Anthology, Philippine Speculative Fiction Volume 7, TAYO Literary Magazine, and Ideomancer. When she’s not writing, she supports Eskritoryo Pilipinas, an organization that encourages kids to appreciate Filipino literature and culture. She divides her time between Manila and Aklan.

Chris blogs regularly about books at Email her at or follow her on Twitter at @dementedchris.

Cover (Story) Girl is available on Kindle and Smashwords. Copies of the print edition are also available by request. 

Attention, readers! Get a chance to win 3 Swag Bags containing a signed paperback copy of CSG, a set of postcards and bookmarks, and a vanilla shampoo/body wash! Just sign up for the giveaway below. (Open only to readers in the Philippines.)

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Love, Stella

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Stella Torres

is the author of the adult contemporary romances Save the Cake, Crushingly Close, and Nine Years Away, as well as the short story “Be Creative” in the anthology Kids These Days: Stories from Luna East Vol. 1.

In her previous life, she has worked in public relations, taught English as a second language, and even attended graduate school (twice!). She has lived in Indonesia, Honolulu, and Quezon City before moving back to her hometown of Los Banos, a few hours’ drive (with traffic) from the heart of Manila.

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