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. In my own romanceclass origins post, I mentioned that author Chris Mariano and I are “batchmates” because I knew her even before she became a romanceclass author. I’m thrilled that she’s here on the blog today, to share how she’s been a part of the community. Please give a warm welcome to Chris for her guest post for romanceclass origins!
1) How did you discover romanceclass?
I participated in Mina V. Esguerra’s Author at Once workshop so I was already following her on Facebook. When she posted about organizing a ‘romance class’ to share her writing techniques, I didn’t want the chance to pass me by. My friend Chrissie Peria and I signed up, and the rest is history.
2) What does being part of the romanceclass community mean to you?
The romanceclass community is my people. It is a support group, cheering squad, critique circle, and book club all in one. When you surround yourself with people who not only share the same interests, but who are also genuinely encouraging and inspiring, then nothing seems impossible.
I have always loved romance, but I never finished anything I wrote (unless you count the Sweet Dreams-type stories I wrote back in high school). romanceclass made it possible for me to actually complete my own novella and self-publish it, and to do it alongside other talented writers who were also just figuring it out by themselves. I guess it always felt that we were all in this together, your-success-is-my-success, walang iwanan. I’ve always tried to be generous with what I’ve learned so far because that is what the community has been to me. I know that I couldn’t have gotten very far without it, and I will always be grateful.
romanceclass is a family of not just writers, but also readers, bloggers, and even live readers. I love that it has grown so organically from that small table of authors at our first class. I don’t think Mina went, “I want to build a community so by November 20XX, I should be done with Step 1: inviting readers to join.” People wrote, people published, people shared tips, people contributed, people did what they felt like doing – and here we are now. To mis-quote Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.”
3) What are your recommended romanceclass reads?
A lot! I always dread having to pick favorites among my #romanceclass books because really, how can I choose? Some nice titles to start with include:
– Keep the Faith by Ana Tejano
– Dare to Love by C.P. Santi
– What You Wanted by Mina V. Esguerra
– No Strings Attached by Mina V. Esguerra
– Waiting in the Wings by Tara Frejas
– Chasing Waves by Bianca Mori
– Choco Chip Hips by Agay Llanera
– Promdi Heart (because love your own)
Chris Mariano writes contemporary romance and speculative fiction. Once upon a time, her short story “A Kind of Flotsam” won 1st Place in the 3rd Philippine Graphic/Fiction Awards and judge Neil Gaiman called it ‘beautifully done.’ She was also a fellow for Poetry in English at the 34th UP National Writers Workshop.
She is a freelance writer and editor living in Juneau, Alaska. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and its Alaska Chapter. When she’s not reading an insane amount of historical romances, she immerses myself in armchair astronomy and tabletop roleplaying games.