What Kind of Day Guest Post: See This Manila

Very happy to have romanceclass author (and foundress) Mina V. Esguerra on the blog today for a guest post about her latest release: What Kind of Day. I haven’t had a chance to read the book yet but it’s been generating a lot of buzz on my social media timelines. In the book, the heroine takes people on an alternative tour of Metro Manila and Mina shares some of the real-life spots in the metro that inspired some of the locations in her book. Personally, I love the idea of going on a tour in your own city. I feel like there’s always something new that you can discover even if you’ve lived in the same place your whole life. And based on the places Mina highlighted below, I feel like Naya and I can be good friends. 😛

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See This Manila by Mina V. Esguerra

I absolutely love traveling, and tried to do a lot of it even when my salary was tiny and could barely cover the big things you were supposed to pay for as an adult. A habit I picked up during that time was having to DIY my tours. City tours tend to have a specific kind of traveler in mind. They were hit or miss for me…and often I opted out of them. I don’t know if this is a habit formed from having to save up and stay on budget, but I often go to a city just wanting to experience how people did the things I loved to do. Where do they get their books, what do they create here, and what do they eat?

I had all of that in mind when writing my book What Kind of Day. My female main character Naya is a tour guide, but she won’t bring you to the exact same spots you’d get from a conventional tour of Manila. Half of the book is Naya’s tour from start to finish, and I designed a tour that was fictional, but based on actual things you could see and do in the city in one day.

I wanted to mention a few real-life inspirations for the tour stops, or at least in theory, because I don’t want to spoil anything else in the book for you.

Some real-life suggestions for a trip to an art gallery, a kare-kare lunch, a people-watching walk, that may or may not have influenced the settings in the book!

Pinto Art Museum (technically not in Metro Manila, but a must-see)

If you live in Manila, what do you think should be part of an “alternative” tour of it? What’s your favorite city spot?

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What Kind of DayBook Description:
It’s a bad day for Ben. After years of earnest work, he’s been fired from his job as a speechwriter for a Philippine senator. Name tarnished and bridges burned, he steps into what he thinks is a shuttle ride home, and accidentally joins a tour of his own city.

It was supposed to be a good day for Naya. Her passion is traveling, her hobby is discovering cool things to see and do, and taking people on tours of Metro Manila is her only job right now. An extra person at the last minute isn’t ideal, especially if the person is a former colleague and the subject of the day’s hottest political trash fire. But work is work, and she decides to let him stay in the tour.

She’s hoping she won’t regret it. He’s hoping his day turns around. What kind of day could it be? Maybe the best kind.

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#RomBkLove Day 26: New-To-Me Authors

RomBkLove Day 26 NewToMe

The theme for day 26 of #RomBkLove is New-To-Me Authors. For those who don’t know, #RomBkLove is a month-long celebration of romance books. The event was organized by Ana Coqui of Immersed in Books and you can check out her introduction post here. Various readers and bloggers have hosted each of the daily themes either on Ana’s blog or on their own platform. I have mostly been participating on Twitter, but I know some people have joined the conversation over at Instagram and Facebook. It has been so much fun seeing so many romance recs! I’ve been so tempted to one click a lot of titles.

I’m so excited to kick off today’s discussion about new-to-me authors because discovering new authors to enjoy and fangirl over is one of the reasons why I love being active on romancelandia. How new is new, you might ask? For the purpose of this discussion, let’s set it to authors you’ve discovered and loved in the past year or so. They don’t have to be new releases, just titles that are new to you. To start things off, here are some of the authors and books I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and would highly recommend:

Beginner's Luck Ghost of a Feeling Submission Moves - ebook

Beginner’s Luck by Kate Clayborn – Loved the slow burn romance between the heroine working in STEM and the hero trying to recruit her for his corporate firm. I found it really cute how they slowly got to know each other before acting on their attraction. Also the teasing and banter from friends and family were hilarious.

Ghost of a Feeling by Celestine Trinidad – The couple has such an unusual meet cute when the hero, dressed as a ghost for Halloween, stops the heroine from jumping off the building. Mental health rep! And an interesting look at how difficult it is for the heroine to build a medical career in the Philippines. The author herself is a doctor so everything feels very realistic.

Submission Moves by Camilla Sisco – Such a fun and steamy romance between a feminist heroine and a mixed martial arts hero who have a one night stand in Vegas, then meet a few years later. This is the only title that’s been written by this Filipino author and I keep hoping she’ll write more!

Captive Prince Queen's Game A Princess in Theory

Captive Prince trilogy by C.S. Pacat – I had the worst (or should I say best?) kind of book hangover after finishing this trilogy because it was SO GOOD! I loved this slow burn male/male romance between two princes of rival kingdoms. Enemies to lovers is one of my favorite tropes. So much political intrigue. And such smart writing. Exactly my type of fantasy series. Please feel free to rec anything similar but I think it’s in a class of its own.

The Queen’s Game by Carla de Guzman – The Filipino royal romance that we didn’t know we needed! Partially inspired by one of my dream vacation destinations in the Philippines: Batanes. A quick and sweet read featuring a romance between the prince and princess of neighboring kingdoms. I have expressed my desire for more books in the same setting and Carla has promised (putting it here for accountability) that there will be more.

A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole – Another non-European royal romance that I loved with a STEM heroine who first thinks it’s a joke that she’s betrothed to an African prince. Loved the worldbuilding and the witty banter in this one. Also, that gorgeous cover deserves a shout out! A custom African print dress on the heroine and a matching bowtie on the hero.

Slightly Dangerous Hot in Hellcat Canyon FLAIR You Out of Nowhere

Slightly Dangerous by Mary Balogh – I’m not much of a historical romance reader but this Pride and Prejudice retelling was so much fun to read! I love how the heroine blindsided the hero in this one.

Hot in Hellcat Canyon by Julie Anne Long – Really enjoyed this small town romance between two people who have such a strong connection in spite of the differences in their backgrounds.

You Out of Nowhere by Jay E. Tria – Last but certainly not the least, my introduction to romanceclass author Jay E. Tria’s writing was such a good one! This title has been fondly called tita (auntie) romance because of the older heroine. I was rooting for the couple right from their train meet cute.

These are the romance titles I discovered and enjoyed in the past year or so! I’ve been meaning to read more books from some of these authors, but I haven’t found time for that yet. Writing this post is a good reminder for me to start doing that soon. What about the rest of you, who are new-to-you romance authors you’d highly recommend? 🙂 Hope you folks enjoy participating in today’s #RomBkLove topic!

Texas 2018 Bookstagrams

Hey everyone, I wasn’t able to do a blog update prior to leaving but I was in Texas from end of April to the first week of May to attend a friend’s wedding. The last time I traveled to the US was in 2013 which was also to attend a wedding. And my last long haul flight was in 2015 when I visited Prague and Munich! So it’s been a while since I traveled that far. I was updating my bookstagram account while I was there and I wanted to share those posts here too.

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These gorgeous hand-painted art prints by @jveruditeartist and delicious single origin chocolates from @aurochocolate were part of my haul from #AprilFeelsDay2018 laat Saturday. If you were able to attend the event, what was your favorite thing that happened? If you weren't there, what was the last book-related event that you enjoyed? . . Arrived in Dallas this afternoon, wasn't able to do much except check in at the hotel and meet with friends. Now about to catch up on much needed sleep. So tired from traveling halfway across the world. Good night, everyone! . . . #Kindlebooks #IGreads #instabooks #readersofIG #booknerd #bookstagram #bookstagramUSA #bookphotography #artPH #calligraphyPH #AuroChocolate #artisanchocolate #Dallas #Texas

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"the sun rises every morning and i wait, in patience for a new beginning" Happy book birthday to One Day Closer by @laylatanjutco, a poetry collection that is a story in verse. Her debut book Before I Lose My Never is also available as a Kindle freebie right now, go and grab copies! . . Bookstagramming in my hotel room made easier by @aurochocolate and artwork by @jveruditeartist. What do you usually like including in your bookstagram shots? I like to keep mine simple but I also like adding a bit of color into my shots because I usually use my Kindle. Coffee, tea and desserts usually when I'm out and about. And whatever I find lying around the house when I'm at home. . . . #OneDayCloser #LaylaTanjutco #romanceclass #poetry #Filipinopoetry #Filipinobooks #Filipinoauthors #readlocalPH #diversereads #Kindlebooks #IGreads #instabooks #readersofIG #booknerd #bookstagram #bookstagramUSA #bookphotography #artPH #bookandcoffee #coffee #coffeetime #chocolate #AuroChocolate #Dallas #Texas

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We were running errands today and dropped by a few thrift stores. One of those stores had these massive shelves of books! I took a photo but wasn't able to browse because we didn't have that much time to spend in there. Also, I prefer reading on my Kindle nowadays. I used to buy a lot of used/secondhand/preloved books but not anymore. I can't even remember when was the last time I bought those kinds of books. I rely on Kindle deals these days. What about you, do you like hunting down bargain books? Or do you prefer reading on a "book device" (that's what a friend called my Kindle earlier today) too? . . . #IGreads #instabooks #readersofIG #booknerd #bookstagram #bookstagramPH #bookphotography #usedbooks #secondhandbooks #thriftstore #bookstore #Dallas #Texas #bookstagramUSA

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Amazon and Gumroad comics and graphic novels haul
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I ordered comic books/graphic novels online that aren't available in the Philippines. My haul includes Smut Puddler's My Monster Boyfriend, Tabula Idem, Princess Princess Ever After, The Tea Dragon Society, and The Prince and the Dressmaker. My friend got I'd Rather Be Reading as a gift for me because she thought I'd love the illustrations inside and I did). I'm so excited to read all of these! I had so much fun browsing and checking out reviews to see which titles are a must have. Let me know what you think if you've read any of these. What book/s have you bought recently? . . . #bookhaul #comics #graphicnovels #IGreads #instabooks #readersofIG #booknerd #bookstagram #bookphotography #MyMonsterBoyfriend #TabulaIdem #PrincessPrincessEverAfter #ThePrinceandtheDressmaker #IdRatherBeReading #bookstagramUSA

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Indie bookstore: Wild Detectives
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Dropped by @thewilddetectives this afternoon, one of Dallas' indie bookstores/cafe/bar. I had a blackberry and rosemary latte which was delicious. What an unusual coffee flavor that you've tried (and hopefully liked)? . . Happy to have visited this bookstore to see it for myself, but I wasn't able to buy anything because there wasn't that many genre fiction titles available, most of their books are literary fiction. And there also wasn't bookish or Dallas-related small merch like bookmarks or postcards. Aside from books, what else do you like seeing in indie bookstores? . . . #TheWildDetectives #Dallas #Texas #IGreads #readersofIG #instabooks #bookstagram #bookstagramPH #bookworm #bibliophile #booknerd #bookphotography #bookandcoffee #coffeetime #indiebookstore #bookstore #independentbookstore #Society6 #bookishtotebag #totebag #bookstagramUSA

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Indie bookstore: Deep Vellum
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Deep Vellum is an indie bookstore in Dallas that specializes in indie pubbed books, and even has its own publishing arm. They also have translated editions of books by foreign authors. I loved how cozy this bookstore was, and it had a great selection of books by local authors although most of them were literary fiction and poetry. I mostly read genre fiction and there wasn't a lot of that available there. The bookstore lady Tanya (I hope I got her name right) who helped me out was so nice and friendly and knew their available titles inside out. While I'm not much of a poetry reader, I tried reading bits and pieces of the titles written by authors from Dallas and ended up buying two books. I'm all set in terms of souvenirs for this trip! I love buying books whenever I travel because they make great souvenirs. I'd prefer local titles but if they're not available or I can't find something suited to my tastes then I'd buy copies of books that I'm interested in. I also like getting bookmarks and postcards by local artists from bookstores if they're available. Do you guys buy books as souvenirs? Do you visit local bookstores on your trips abroad? . . . #DeepVellum #LiteraryDallas #independentbookstore #indiebookstore #bookstore #travel #Dallas #Texas #IGreads #readersofIG #instabooks #bookstagram #bookworm #bibliophile #booknerd #bookphotography #poetry #bookstagramUSA

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Deep Vellum haul
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Pictured with strawberry rhubarb pie and coffee are the two poetry collections I bought from @deepvellumbooks: Voices from a Hanging Cliff by Michael Neil (signed and numbered) and Time Travel for Daydreamers Vol. 2 by James Barrezz Rodehaver and Nadia Wolnisty. These were both written by authors from Dallas and as I mentioned in my earlier post, they make great souvenirs. Planning to read these when I'm back home in Manila and maybe let my friends borrow them too. . . What have been memorable book purchases for you while you were traveling? I have fond memories of buying The Little Prince, American Gods (which I still haven't read), bookstore postcards and a tote bag from the Shakespeare and Co. in Paris way back in 2014. . . . #VoicesFromAHangingCliff #TimeTravelforDaydreamers #DeepVellum #LiteraryDallas #SpontaneousAfflatus #CWPCreativePress #independentbookstore #indiebookstore #bookstore #travel #Dallas #Texas #IGreads #readersofIG #instabooks #bookstagram #bookworm #bibliophile #booknerd #bookphotography #poetry #bookandcoffee #coffeetime #bookstagramUSA

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I apologize for the radio silence the past few days. As mentioned in my previous posts, I was traveling for a wedding and I thought I'd be able to keep up with bookstagramming on the go but I wasn't in the right head space for it leading up to the wedding. Too busy helping out with wedding prep and everything else! I also wasn't able to read at all while I was there. . . Anyway, I wanted to share a shot of the wedding venue. It was held in a bed and breakfast place that was previously a ranch. It has a red barn, cottages and a main house, as well as a pond that you can see from this shot. As I was going around the place, I kept thinking that it had so many reading nooks. A great place where you can relax and read if you have the luxury of time for it. Who knows, maybe I'll be able to go back someday? What have you all been up to lately? . . . #IGreads #instabooks #readersofIG #booknerd #bookstagram #bookstagramUSA #bookphotography #Kindlebooks #Texas

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Wedding Night Stand book quote
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"They ran up to the gazebo, getting there through a winding rocky staircase that very nearly broke her shoe and sprained her ankle. He insisted they press on though, wrapping an arm around her waist when her legs wobbled in her tall shoes. When they got up there she forgave the stairs, and him, because it was far enough from the reception area and no one would bother to go after them. And the view from up there was spectacular." . . An excerpt from the short story Wedding Night Stand by @minavesguerra. I just had to take this shot of this wedding-themed story against a gazebo at the wedding venue I attended. Sometimes bookstagram shots just work out that way. What are bookstagram shots that you've taken against backdrops relevant to the story? . . . #WeddingNightStand #MinaVEsguerra #ChicManila #romanceclass #bookquote #Filipinoauthor #Filipinobooks #readlocalPH #diverseromance #ownvoices #romancereads #Kindlebooks #IGreads #readersofIG #instabooks #bookstagram #bookstagramUSA #RoundTop #Texas

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Always ready to Kindle! This lovely calligraphy and watercolor artwork by @jveruditeartist went so well with the flowers used for the wedding. My favorites were these amnesia roses that had a dusty or smokey lavender color to them. I think this is the first time I've seen roses that are this color, I'm not even sure if they're available only in the US or if I can find them in Manila. . . What's your favorite kind of flower? I used to say I love carnations but really, I like all kinds of flowers. I'd probably be happiest with a mix of different types. . . . #IGreads #instabooks #readersofIG #booknerd #bookstagram #bookstagramUSA #bookphotography #bookishart #artPH #calligraphy #artwork #weddingflowers #roses #Texas

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Better at Weddings Than You book quote
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"You watch weddings all the time," he said. "What do you think about all of it? You think they're just kidding themselves?" . . "Some of them are. The others - I don't think they're kidding themselves. They really want this. And you have to want it, I think, because that's the only way it can work for that long. You guys know this. YOU would know, because you don't do relationships. You don't do it because you don't need it, and you never wanted it badly enough." . . So much yes to this book quote from Better at Weddings Than You by @minavesguerra! Daphne is a heroine after my own heart: such a strong, independent type of woman. She's in her 30s, still single and plans weddings as a career but she doesn't care that's she's not married or that she doesn't have a boyfriend. She doesn't let it bother her. I loved so many things about her character, and also her insights about relationshipsnas shown by the passage above. What was the last book that you read where a passage or something a character said resonated with you? . . . #BetterAtWeddingsThanYou #BAWTY #MinaVEsguerra #ChicManila #romanceclass #bookquote #Filipinoauthor #Filipinobooks #readlocalPH #diverseromance #ownvoices #romancereads #Kindlebooks #IGreads #readersofIG #instabooks #bookstagram #bookstagramUSA #RoundTop #Texas #weddingflowers

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I wasn’t able to do that many touristy things but I’m glad I was able to go to two indie bookstores, thank goodness for Uber for letting me go around Dallas. I wouldn’t have been able to visit those stores otherwise! And I also need to pat past Chachic on the back for ordering ahead and taking care of my comics/graphic novels and bookish tote bags haul. Back in Manila now and back to regular programming. I’m still catching up on sleep and errands so I haven’t really been able to read but hopefully that will change soon. What have you all been up to lately? Read any amazing books that you’d like to talk about?

romanceclass origins: Veronica of Brain Tabs

romanceclass origins

romanceclass is a community of authors and readers who gather together to support indie published contemporary romance written by Filipino authors. Whether they’re a reader or an author, all community members have their romanceclass origin story… various stories of how and when they joined the community. romanceclass origins is a blog feature that highlights these origin stories.

Visit the earlier romanceclass origins posts here. Please help me in welcoming Veron of Brain Tabs as she shares how she first found out about romanceclass! For the first time, someone said they discovered the group because of my recommendation. Isn’t that awesome? 😀

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1) How did you discover romanceclass?

I first discovered Mina V. Esguerra’s books from here at Chachic’s Book Nook! Chachic reviewed Fairy Tale Fail and upon reading that book, I became a fan of Mina V. Esguerra’s books. I subscribed to her newsletter and got notified of sign-ups for book promos, writing classes, and author events, among many other things. I joined the #SparkNA writing class in 2015 to accompany my friend, Clare Elisabeth Marquez. It was from there that we got wind of April Feels Day. Clare and I attended that event and I was overwhelmed (in a good way) of how so many people are passionate about the community – which is romanceclass.

2) What does being part of the romanceclass community mean to you?

Some may find this ironic since I’m a librarian, but while I’ve always loved reading, I’ve never been part of a bookish club. I didn’t even know I needed one, but romanceclass was a gift and it keeps on giving. I’ve started as a reader, then a lurker online, and now I do manuscript editing/proofing for some authors. For many authors, romanceclass encouraged them to make their writing dreams come true. Being an editor/proofreader on my part, enables me to transform a weakness – nitpicking – into a strength. I still am honing the skill of turning negative comments to constructive feedback. I’ve also been told many times before that I am too feminist for my own good. I found like-minded and strong-willed women in this community though, which made me feel that somehow, I belong.

3) What are your recommended romanceclass reads?

Chic Manila Series by Mina V. Esguerra
Feels Like Summer and Beginner’s Guide by Six de los Reyes
Keep The Faith by Ana Tejano
You Out of Nowhere and Songs to Make You Stay by Jay E. Tria
Scandalized and Like Nobody’s Watching by Tara Frejas
Dare To Love and Bucket List To Love by C.P. Santi
If the Dress Fits and The Queen’s Game by Carla De Guzman
Prom Queen Perfect and Keeping the Distance by Clarisse David
Finding X by Miles Tan
All’s Fair in Blog and War by Chrissie Peria
The Real Score by Kesh Tanglao
Chasing Waves by Bianca Mori
Simply Joei by Clare Elisabeth Marquez
Poetry Books by Dawn Lanuza and Layla Tanjutco

My Imaginary Ex - 2017 Fairy Tale Fail 2017 Love Your Frenemies - 2018 edition What You Wanted 2018 Better At Weddings Than You cover

Feels Like Summer Beginner's Guide - Love and Other Chemical Reactions Keep the Faith FLAIR You Out of Nowhere

Like Nobody's Watching Dare to Love Bucket List to Love If the Dress Fits

Queen's Game prom-queen-perfect The Duke Takes a Bride Finding X All's Fair in Blog and War

The Real Score Chasing Waves Simply Joei The Last Time I'll Write About You We Might As Well Be Galaxies
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Hope you enjoyed hearing about Veron’s romanceclass journey. I love how she had tons of book recs for all of us. Incidentally, the romanceclass event Veron mentioned earlier (April Feels Day) will be held this Saturday! Really looking forward to it. Check out the details below. Last I heard all the registration slots have been taken but some slots may free up in the coming days or on the day itself.

April Feels Day 2018

romanceclass origins: Bianca Mori

romanceclass origins

romanceclass is a community of authors and readers who gather together to support indie published contemporary romance written by Filipino authors. Whether they’re a reader or an author, all community members have their romanceclass origin story… various stories of how and when they joined the community. romanceclass origins is a blog feature that highlights these origin stories.

Visit the earlier romanceclass origins posts here. Apologies for the delay in posting today’s romanceclass origins, I haven’t been feeling well the past few days so this took me a while to put up. So before the day ends, please help me welcome author Bianca Mori as she shares her romanceclass journey!

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1) How did you discover romanceclass?

This is a gigantically long story, but okay, let’s do the highlights: I knew Mina V. Esguerra from way back when LiveJournal was THE social media platform. We’d both published chick lit books through mainstream publishers (I under my real name), and I closely followed her indie publishing journey with Fairy Tale Fail.

Cut to: late 2013. While I didn’t join the first romanceclass, Mina helped me with my first independently published title and allowed me to tag along with the official romanceclass blog tour. Because she’s awesome.

A few months later, she told me about doing another romanceclass run, but this time featuring sexier books. At that time, we’d all been doing clean romance and she said she felt that it was time for her, personally, to inject heat into her work, and I was all “I completely agree. Sign me up, sis.” That class was #buqosteamyreads and the novella I submitted eventually became One Night At The Palace Hotel.

[Pen name side note: Mina made us read Tessa Bailey to prep for the class. And I thought, wow, the genre can get this steamy? I’m going to be super explicit! When One Night was done and I read the finished version, I realized, hah, what if my NGO clients and corporate bosses Google my name and this comes up? Bianca Mori and this funny double-but-not-really life was born.]

So that’s how it started. I kept going to the events, even if I had to first prep for them, at home, because I’m naturally shy and I have to practice my small talk. Then I started making friends, who were equally introverted, and now I didn’t feel so weird anymore. Then I wrote more. And fangirled. And planned things. And sometimes just showed up, because it’s an awesome community with this amazing energy that never fails to make me feel creative and fulfilled, especially when my day job can sometimes be like swimming frantically with my head barely above water.

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Actual proms weren't this fun #FeelsSoProm

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2) What does being part of the romanceclass community mean to you?

The romanceclass community is built around supporting each other. That’s rare. I’d been in a few writers’ groups and found that they were almost always built around critique. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but too often, it turns into gatekeeping. Discussions become about exclusion, and then it becomes about snark. It’s exhausting, and it’s premised on making art conform, instead of letting it evolve.

But romance is constantly evolving, and so is #romanceclass. People feel like writing about a certain topic and we all cheer each other on, and at first it doesn’t feel extraordinary until you view what we come up with through the eyes of readers who are looking for more. We’re doing STEM, queer, age difference, single parents, #ownvoices and more. None of these would be possible if the community weren’t so supportive.

And it’s just so dang fun. #romanceclass energy is positive and bright and maybe if I could see auras, our gatherings would be surrounded by an amazing unicorn glow — because it feels that way. It feels special, rare, precious and sparkly, with shiny silky rainbow hair.

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Sulit my 3 hour drive!! #feelsfest2017 ❤

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3) What are your recommended romanceclass reads?

Love Your Frenemies – Mina V. Esguerra, because Kimmy Domingo is the OG hard-to-love-but-kicks-ass-anyway heroine and I heart her. (And because Mina is so prolific, I also highly recommend the Scambitious series (con artists!), The Future Chosen (brilliant kids in an anti-political-dynasty NotPhilippines) and What You Wanted (one night stand with two lovably screwed up characters.))

Another Word for Happy – Agay Llanera, and anything Agay writes, basically, because her work overflows with heart and makes me cry.

You Out Of Nowhere – Jay E. Tria, because Jay is another master wordsmith and this sexy tale had me from the first pages of its MRT meet cute (it could happen!)

The Duke Takes A Bride – Suzette de Borja, because aristocratic sexytimes and a goldfish that is black.

If The Dress Fits – Carla de Guzman, for realistic body positivity and a romance that will make you ache.

Loveless, Childless, Clueless – Miren B. Flores, with a knowing toast from all ladies in the northern end of thirty.

Love Your Frenemies - 2018 edition Young and Scambitious The Future Chosen What You Wanted 2018

Another Word for Happy FLAIR You Out of Nowhere The Duke Takes a Bride If the Dress Fits Loveless Childless Clueless

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Bianca Mori

Bianca Mori writes contemporary romances, romantic suspense and crime fiction set in the Philippines, Asia, Europe, the United States and all points in between. Her steamy stories have been called “fast-paced and super-hot,” “engaging,” “vivid” and “engrossing.” She lives in Manila with her family and a hyperactive pug. Find Bianca on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as @thebiancamori or at her website http://www.biancamori.com

Chasing Mindy Guest Post: Paris Travel Diary

Last week, author Carla de Guzman shared her romanceclass origins and today, she’s here on the blog to share the location inspiration for her latest title Chasing Mindy. Paris is a city that’s close to my own heart and I love that Carla chose to set her book there. Check out what she has to say about this glorious city in relation to her book!

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Paris Travel Diary by Carla de Guzman

One of my favorite things about writing Chasing Mindy was being able to re-write my experience of Paris. It’s one of those places that you never, ever, ever think you’ll be able to visit. You dream about it and hear about it, but you can’t really picture yourself there until you’re actually there. Mindy’s awe over the things she saw was very much my own.

Honestly guys, this city though. It’s so pretty you want to hug it.

For my little stint here on Chachic’s Book Nook, I’m sharing my photos and a little travel diary of the places Mindy and Javier visited!

Chasing Mindy - Rue de Depart

Rue de Depart
Mindy’s first scene ever in Paris is here–on a street corner, looking at the golden light and cursing the city for being just so gosh darn perfect. And how could she not, if she was looking at this? This is the corner not too far from our hotel in Montparnasse. It’s my phone’s wallpaper!

Chasing Mindy - Metro

Paris Metro
Call me a nerd, but I like the Paris Metro stations–they’re all so different, and how fancy is it that the ads have a pretty sienna tile surrounding it? It even has Napoleon’s crest on top of each one.

Chasing Mindy - Shakespeare and Co

Shakespeare and Co.
You see this a lot in pictures, and I never realized it was just across the Notre Dame until someone pointed it out like, oh no big deal, there it is! The inside is crammed with books to browse, and there was a bunch of lavender growing in front of the store so it smelled so nice. I realized later on that there are lots of Shakespeare and Co. bookstores in Europe, but there’s just something special about that green awning!

Chasing Mindy - Square Rene Vivani

Square Rene Vivani
Javi makes Mindy frog march over to the park next to Shakespeare and Co where they sit and have their coffee. Look at that view of the Notre Dame! With the rose arch and everything. There were quite a few painters taking a rest there, and couples falling asleep on the benches–which is totally normal. This place had to appear in the book, just because of the roses!

Chasing Mindy - Saint Chapelle

Saint Chapelle
This church! You don’t run out of churches in Paris, but this one is lovely! I experienced it exactly the same way Mindy did, where she runs up the smallest staircase, thinking that this was a scam, (and we had to line up for an hour!) only to find this gorgeous illusion of light on top. I believe I used the words ‘HOLY CRAP’ in my travel diary at the time.

Chasing Mindy - Giverny

Giverny
When I visited Paris for the first time, I became a little obsessed with the Impressionists. I looked up their works and read up on their history, which is why I knew that the next time we went to Paris, I had to make sure we went to Monet’s home in Giverny. Imagine a garden of flowers and multiply it by like, a thousand. I could barely breathe I was so happy.

Chasing Mindy - Olympia

Olympia by Manet
Sorry for the sudden nudity, but this girl is my goddess, okay. Manet painted one of his favorite muses totally naked. I could go into detail of why he painted it and why this painting was one of the most controversial of his time (someone stop me!), but I settled for putting it in the book, for now.

Chasing Mindy - Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower
An excerpt from my travel diary, ‘Damn it, Eiffel Tower, I thought I was over you!’ The perfect last thing to do in Paris is to buy some food, sit in the Trocadero Garden and wait for the tower to light up. You half-expect there to be music. Look at it. So pretty.

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Chasing MindyBook Description:
Mindy and Javier are not friends, okay.

Despite their mothers’ matchmaking, they’ve managed to stay out of each other’s way. Until Mindy goes to Paris for a week, and her mother insists she meet up with Javier. He’s in Paris to study, really looking forward to see you, she says. Watch over each other.

No thanks. Javier is taciturn and boring, Mindy is dramatic and has a tendency to yell at things when her eight siblings are brought up. It’s not a great combination.

But things start to look a little different under the Paris lights, and what felt like hate feels a lot closer to love.

romanceclass origins: Carla de Guzman

romanceclass origins

romanceclass is a community of authors and readers who gather together to support indie published contemporary romance written by Filipino authors. Whether they’re a reader or an author, all community members have their romanceclass origin story… various stories of how and when they joined the community. romanceclass origins is a blog feature that highlights these origin stories.

Visit the earlier romanceclass origins posts here. Today, prolific author Carla de Guzman is here to talk about how she first started attending romanceclass events with siblings in tow. Please give Carla a warm welcome!

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1) How did you discover romanceclass?

In the summer of 2015, I wrote a book. Oh man, I thought I was so amazing. It was a book about different cities and different universes, and I didn’t know it at the time, but it was not romance. After I finished it, I thought I would find someone who might want to publish it. But there’s nothing more painful than being told “why don’t you publish your book on Wattpad first and gain a couple of thousand readers before we publish it?” Ouch.

While desperately Googling and querying, I stumbled upon Alyssa Urbano, who was my batchmate in school. I saw she was self-published and asked her about it. She told me about Bronze Age Media and encouraged me to get in touch. Tania Arpa talked to me first. Looking back I was very, very persistent, haha. After they agreed to help me publish Cities, Tania and I worked together on the cover. Layla Tanjutco finished the first book of mine she would edit. Liana Smith Bautista would later organize the blog tour. Then Mina V. Esguerra and I met in Coffee Bean in Greenhills. She showed me how Amazon worked. I remember she said, “Congratulations, you’re a published author now!” So surreal.

The next thing I knew, I was being added to this group on Facebook called romanceclass, and we were being invited to attend this ‘secret thing’ at The Study in Podium. Me being a very awkward turtle, I brought along my sister (I would bring siblings for at least the next two live readings) and we heard the very first live readings by Gio Gahol and Rachel Coates. I didn’t know anybody, and barely spoke to anyone. Up until April Feels Day 2016, I still had a sibling around! Apparently being in a small space with sweaty people buying each others books makes for great bonding.

Then there was workshop season, where I joined #SparkNA, #StrangeLit, #romanceclass2016 where I wrote If The Dress Fits and #romanceclasss2017 where I wrote Making A Scene. Whirlwind years, my friends.

2) What does being part of the romanceclass community mean to you?

When I first joined, I wasn’t sure what it was supposed to mean for me. At the time it was just a group of people, recommending books, talking about handsome guys.

But later on, romanceclass became a safe space. I can say “hey, that guy looks really really cute!” and not have anyone look at me oddly, in fact they would even nod and agree! That was so new to me. I could write smut and ask questions I could never ask anyone. I could say “hey, this book has a hot and grumpy British actor and maybe I’ll like it” and people will actually encourage that. I can say that I want to write a book about a plus size girl falling in love with this tall, cute boy and they’ll actually say “why not?” instead of “why?” You say you’re a writer and people look at you funny still.

Suddenly, here are all these people who just know things. Like how fun it is to watch a good musical when you’re with friends, what it feels to drown in feelings and what it feels like to suddenly find a community. Suddenly, I have… people. I never thought I would have people.

3) What are your recommended romanceclass reads?

WHY YOU ASK THIS? It’s hard to choose books because I love them all and in very different ways.

I think everyone should read Tara Frejas’ Waiting in the Wings and Like Nobody’s Watching because she writes with her heart on the page, and we all need that. I like soft boys and tough girls, which is why I would recommend Jay’s Songs To Get Over You. If you want to read Mina V. Esguerra’s books, start with No Strings Attached and That Kind of Guy.

And then I would hop on over to Bucket List to Love by CP Santi, Cover Story Girl by Chris Mariano and The Kitchen When It Sizzles by Chrissie Peria. And of course Feels Like Summer by Six de los Reyes for the lightsabers. And then you jump into One Night at the Palace Hotel by Bianca Mori, Submission Moves by Camilla Sisco are SUPER HOT. Ana Tejano’s Keep The Faith is fun and easy to read, and I round it all up with Choco Chip Hips by Agay Llanera because of the tears and the cookies.

I could recommend more, I could talk about these books all day.

Waiting in the Wings Like Nobody's Watching No Strings Attached_New Cover That Kind of Guy 2017

Bucket List to Love Cover Story Girl The Kitchen When It Sizzles - indie Feels Like Summer

One Night at the Palace Hotel Submission Moves - ebook Keep the Faith Choco Chip Hips

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Carla de Guzman

If you ask Carla what she does for a living, she will tell you that she’s not quite sure.

By day, she works a regular day job and writes for a lifestyle website. By night, she’s an author and an artist, spending her midnights at her desk and making these silly love stories. She loves to travel, coming home to her dog Kimchi and spending her weekends having dinner with her crazy family.

She’s currently on a quest to see as many Impressionist paintings as she can, and is always in search of the perfect pain au chocolat.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads

Birthday Book Haul

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It's past midnight in this side of the world so it's officially my birthday!🎂 No big plans for today, just going to have lunch with my mom and my brother. A welcome change from birthdays spent by myself while I was living in Singapore. Back then, I chose to celebrate by myself and it was nice but it's good to change things up. . . If you're feeling generous and want to give me a little birthday gift, it would make me happy to hear about a title of a book/series that you picked up (and hopefully loved) or that you're curious about because of my recommendation.📚👌🏼 Hope you all have a great Thursday ahead! And for those in the Philippines, have a good long weekend.

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It was my birthday last week! On the 29th of March, and I just wanted to share a quick post about it. Didn’t have any big plans but I did have a nice lunch with my mom and brother at one of my favorite restaurants. I posted real time updates on Twitter, here’s the thread if you want to check it out:

A few days before my birthday, I posted a wish list here on the blog and here’s my haul because of that, swipe to see all of the shots:

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Birthday book haul from generous friends... THANK YOU!🎂📚 I have quite a haul this year because I made a wish list, which I think is a great solution to friends not knowing whether to get books for me because they have no idea what I want or what I already have. A wish list solves that problem.🙌🏻 This year's haul includes: . . - UGH from @carlakdeguzman . - Don't Tell My Mother from @minavesguerra . - Project 17 from @itstimeana . - Making It Complicated from @bibliophilesoprano . - The Duke Takes a Bride from @bentchbites . - Captive Prince from @chuchay.d . - Stickers and a bookish postcard from @booksandflourishes . . Thanks again, friends! Maraming salamat! I'm so happy with this haul, and I'm excited to read all of these. A pretty nice mix of comics, romance and fantasy. As an added bonus, all of these books except for Captive Prince are written by Filipino authors.🙌🏻📚 . . Do you guys give or receive books as gifts for birthdays? What book do you usually give as a gift? . . . #GGSSG #artPH #BrigitteBautista #ClarisseDavid #SuzettedeBorja #ElizaVictoria #romanceclass #HaliyaPublishing #Hulyen #Filipinoauthors #Filipinobooks #Kindlebooks #Pinoykomiks #readlocalPH #diversebooks #ownvoices #IGreads #readersofIG #instabooks #bookstagram #bookstagramPH #bookworm #bibliophile #booknerd #bookphotography

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Thanks again to all my generous friends who gave me book gifts, I’m so touched. Last but not the least, I didn’t have cake on my actual birthday but there was ice cream:

Giveaway on Instagram

I’m hosting a giveaway for Palaso by Marianie and You Out of Nowhere by Jay E. Tria on my bookstagram account. Go and check it out if you’re interested!

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GIVEAWAY CLOSED! Winner has been announced. Philippines only, sorry international folks. I recently reached 1k in terms of number of followers here on bookstagram so as a way to thank all of you, here's a giveaway for two titles I've read: Palaso comics by @marianieart and You Out of Nowhere by @jayetria. These are signed copies, both by Filipino authors. I posted about each of these earlier in my feed if you want to browse and learn more about them. To join: • Must be a follower (please don't follow then unfollow because that's rude) • Must be a bookstagram or author account • Must have a delivery address in the Philippines • Leave a comment answering these questions: What's your favorite book by a Filipino author, and why? That's it! One winner will be chosen by April 12. Please feel free to spread the word through Instagram stories or by tagging your friends. This giveaway is in no way affiliated with Instagram. Books were purchased out of pocket. . . . #bookgiveaway #bookstagramPH #booknerdPH #romanceclass #Pinoykomiks #Filipinoauthors #readlocalPH

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romanceclass origins: Tara Frejas

romanceclass origins

romanceclass is a community of authors and readers who gather together to support indie published contemporary romance written by Filipino authors. Whether they’re a reader or an author, all community members have their romanceclass origin story… various stories of how and when they joined the community. romanceclass origins is a blog feature that highlights these origin stories.

Visit the earlier romanceclass origins posts here. This blog feature took a break last week but it’s back today, yay! Author and social media expert Tara Frejas is here to share her romanceclass journey. Take it away, Tara!

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1) How did you discover romanceclass?

In 2014, I passed by a small-ish kiosk of books at EDSA Shangri-La and saw these pretty little books published by Summit. I took a photo of it, posted it on my Instagram, and told myself that I’ll someday get a book published. Minutes after the photo was posted, my high school classmate Jeni posted a comment asking if I was into romance because her cousin (whose book was in the photo) holds writing classes and helps her students publish books.

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One day, i swear i'm going to publish something nice. #writing

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Her cousin is Mina V. Esguerra.

Now I wasn’t sure yet at the time if I wanted to write romance even if a lot of my online-published stories were love stories. Admittedly, I was one of those people who thought romance could be “elevated” to “something more,” (I know, kill me.) so I didn’t know if I wanted to focus on being a romance writer. Nevertheless, I followed Mina on Wattpad and read her posts about self-publishing and copyright.

Several months passed and I finished a book I really wanted to publish. At about the same time, Mina announced on her Wattpad that she was holding an Author-at-Once seminar in January of 2015 and I just went “to heck with it” and jumped at the opportunity. I published Paper Planes Back Home that year and decided to join Mina’s other projects/workshops afterward, which included Tales from the Metro, #SparkNA, and #StrangeLit.

I remember feeling so intimidated by the “first generation” #romanceclass authors at the first #SparkNA F2F. I remember seeing Chris Mariano show everyone a copy of Cover (Story) Girl and thinking “Wow, that’s really pretty” and “Sana ako rin.” I remember my very first #romanceclass event at Enderun, where I felt extremely out of place because people actually knew each other (I had friends who joined the #SparkNA F2F so it wasn’t that awkward) and well… I was an awkward potato who Mina invited because someone from Rak of Aegis was supposedly gonna be a “guest.”

Haha.

So, yeah…from that very first workshop with Mina, I was hooked. And the more I learned about the community (online and otherwise), the more I grew fond of the people and the things we continue to create. I guess it’s safe to say I’m here for the long haul!

2) What does being part of the romanceclass community mean to you?

I’ve always said that #romanceclass is my happy place, but saying that is like showing you Disneyland from an aerial view. It’s pretty and colorful and fun, but once you’re on the ground, you’ll see that there’s a lot of different things going on.

First and foremost, being in #romanceclass means getting second chances. After college, I really wanted to write for TV or movies, but that wasn’t an easy path to take. I realized I didn’t have the stomach for that industry and I gave that dream up because I had to be practical. So for several years it was pretty much just work work work for me, until the Internet made it possible and easy to share stories to the world again. But I knew nothing about self-publishing and I thought the only way to be considered a “legit” author was to be traditionally published. I was so, so wrong… and I was so, so glad I stumbled upon #romanceclass when I did. The timing was just perfect.

Second, I know a lot of people don’t like high school, but being in #romanceclass feels just like high school. Without the drama and awkwardness, that is. Because everyone’s the cool kid, the jock, the overachiever, the cheerleader, the dreamer. A bunch of people organize fun events that people go to to have fun! We learn new stuff every day, we get to say what’s on our minds, we get to stand up for what we believe in. We meet cute people, talk about love and crushes and abs. We assign code names, have our own language, and giggle all the time. We’re like a huge, clingy high school barkada, and I love it.

Finally, being in #romanceclass means (and I will borrow this from Jay) finding your people. There’s really nothing more comforting than the knowledge that there are other people out there who understand you and accept you, quirks and all. I believe I’ve found my people in #romanceclass, and I hope more people do too.

3) What are your recommended romanceclass reads?
Why must you hurt me this way? *sobs into a tissue*

Ah well, okay. I guess this is inevitable, so… in no particular order, here are SOME recommended #romanceclass reads:

Choco Chip Hips by Agay Llanera
The Playlist Series by Jay E. Tria
The Future Chosen by Mina V. Esguerra
Dare to Love by C.P. Santi
Feels Like Summer by Six de los Reyes
Ghost of a Feeling by Celestine Trinidad
Fall Like Rain by Ana Tejano
Loveless. Childless. Clueless. by Miren B. Flores (I know, I know. Just.)
If the Dress Fits by Carla de Guzman
Only a Kiss by Ines Bautista-Yao

Choco Chip Hips Songs of Our Breakup The Future Chosen Dare to Love Feels Like Summer

Ghost of a Feeling Fall Like Rain Loveless Childless Clueless If the Dress Fits Only a Kiss

Whew. That wasn’t so bad. 😛 Thanks for having me, Chachic! ❤

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Tara Frejas is a cloud-walker who needs caffeine to fuel her travels. When she’s not on work mode, she keeps herself busy by weaving her daydreams into stories.

Aside from her obvious love affair with words and persistent muses, Tara is very passionate about being caffeinated, musical theatre, certain genres of music, dancing, dogs, good food, and romancing Norae, her ukelele. She owns a male bunny named Max who sometimes tries to nibble on her writing notes.

Fun fact: She’s a Piscean. Go figure.

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