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!
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.
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.
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.
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