Black Clouds in Manila, a novel by Tessie Jayme
by Tessie Jayme
Black Clouds in Manila
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Many years have passed since I first felt the dream of writing this novel.  There was so much research to be done, and so many stories to tell which would give a broad overview of how a country and its people survived during a devastating world war.

With patience, dedication and lots and lots of help, I finally done did it, and I herewith acknowledge that help.

First and foremost, never-ending appreciation and gratitude to my parents in heaven and my eight siblings, to whom my book is dedicated.  In sharing their “recuerdos” with me, they have provided a rich bounty of inspiration for this novel.   Sibs, please forgive the liberties I have taken of your recollections, but remember that this is a fictional work, where I am describing imagined scenarios and not biographical information.  I mixed in fictional people and situations with events from your real memories in such a way that you may not recognize them as yours, but your sharing of those memories was nevertheless crucial to my writing process, and thus you all have been a crucial part of this work.  I love each and every one of you beyond expression.

Among my siblings, a special thanks to my older sister, Nem, who not only supplied her memories, but also did additional research to ensure that the cultural, economic and political aspects depicted were as accurate as possible.  In addition, her experience in Philippines during her stint as an American citizen working at the American Embassy there imbued her with savvy and knowledge which added texture and accuracy to the story.   Also, much gratitude to my eldest brother Val, who witnessed many relevant events that occurred in this phase of Filipino history.

Then there is the astonishing contribution from my daughter Arielle, whose editorial comments proved to be of epic proportions.  She created a practical worksheet with her notes, which not only graded each chapter’s suspense ranking, but which suggested tension-building anecdotes and scenarios.  She gave her precious time unsparingly, and her commitment to making this work better and more exciting succeeded brilliantly.

Next, there is no way in heaven or hell that I could have written this work without word processing, the internet, Wikipedia, or my beloved 1977 Time-Life Books series of World War II.

When the Time-Life series first came out, I signed up for it immediately, and I received a book a month until I had the whole set.  I knew that the brilliant compilation of events and the superior writing within those books would someday save my life.    This series of books have answered so many questions, filled in so many holes and provided me with such a rich source of material, that the word “Thanks” just doesn’t do it.  In fact, words don’t exist that can begin to describe how much I love and appreciate those Time-Life publishers.  I’ve tried not to outright plagiarize their books, but at least 80% of the italicized narrative portion were paraphrased from these books.

Word processing:  OMG the time I’ve saved editing and rewriting and replacing names and dates… thanks to the brilliant techno minds that makes that possible.

Wikipedia, Google, Ask.Com and all you other Internet sources:  I have just one word to say to you: “loveyouloveyoulove you.”  It’s a new word I’ve created just for you.  It has saved me so much time to have these sources so handy.  So many times while I was describing a scene, I simply didn’t know what kind of trees grew in the Philippines, or how many miles one barangay was from another… but then I typed in some words in the search bar and voilà, there was a link to the answer.   I love books and I love libraries… but I’m relieved I didn’t have to make those trips to the library and then search through the aisles of books.

Also thanks to the Internet, I was able to access a website which connected me to the Provincial Governor’s office in Aklan for some specific information I couldn’t find anywhere else.  Thanks to Carlito S. Marquez for helping me out with important info.

Finally, special acknowledgement to Evangeline Cenizal (“Cuz Vangie”) who sent me maps and a Tagalog dictionary.  She also read my early drafts and gave me essential comments and suggestions about Filipino things. 

Whatever writing I did, I happily acknowledge that all those listed above made the end result more comprehensive and much improved in every way.

Thanks, everyone.