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.

Actual proms weren't this fun #FeelsSoProm

A post shared by thebiancamori (@thebiancamori) on

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.

Sulit my 3 hour drive!! #feelsfest2017 ❤

A post shared by thebiancamori (@thebiancamori) on

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

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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

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.

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

A post shared by Tara (@twostepflight) on

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.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram

romanceclass origins: Georgette Gonzales

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. I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting author Georgette Gonzales in person because she’s now based in the USA, but we’ve interacted online and I’m so glad she’s here on the blog to share her romanceclass origin story. Thank you for being here, Gette!

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1) How did you discover romanceclass?

I didn’t exactly discover romanceclass. More like romanceclass discovered me. I think. Lemme ‘splain.

It all started with Anne Plaza, Clara Romance, and her #buqoYA novella, Fall For Grace. (Anne and I first became friends through My Special Valentine.) First thing she asked of me was if I was willing to submit something for the website’s first issue. I did. And then during the #buqoYA season, she asked me to edit her work because it was in Tagalog. Following that, she introduced me to the Facebook group of Romance Writers of the Philippines. There, I got to “meet” many other authors who did not move in the same circle I did – romance authors who wrote in English and who self-publish their works. Mina V. Esguerra was among them although I already knew her by name and reputation. I added her as a friend on Facebook, followed her on Twitter too. I was feeling a bit shy (and a teeny bit stupid), but I “introduced” myself to her by sending her a Twitter comment or two about self-publishing on Amazon. Other than that, I just generally stalked her and the other writers I’d gotten to know.

Sometime later, she tweeted about going to Dumaguete for a talk and forum. And yay! Not one to pass up the opportunity, I asked at once if she’d maybe have time for a quick meet up. Happily, we were able to connect – over coffee and dessert on the first day, and lunch on the second day. Later on, she was already back in Manila, she informed me she added me to the romanceclass group. And that was it.

Gette and Mina

My first big involvement was helping edit some of the submissions for #TalesFromTheMetro. #Tales had also been the first solid building block for me to be able to put my English stories out there. After writing three of these short shorts, I came up with a whole anthology, and so there was Of Love And Special Things as a result.

While I do have short story contributions to Promdi Heart (Once Upon A Bully) and Summer Feels (Then Derrick Was Back), of course, the ultimate objective would be to publish a full novella that fulfills #romanceclass guidelines. I had hoped to achieve this with #romanceclass2017 but at the time, I was also stressing about leaving the Philippines so I wasn’t able to finish my story. Will get to that someday. Promise.

So far though, I am close to getting one done… Uh… Nope. Scratch that. I WILL get one done as soon as I’m able to. Lord help me.

Gette book launches

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

I love the family feels. That’s how I’ve seen and felt romanceclass members treat each other – like family. It’s amazing how we are each other’s best supporters, passing each other recommendations and opportunities, being the first patron for whatever we come up with. I am grateful for the new friends I have made, for the chances to learn new things whether about writing romance or just life, in general. Grateful mostly for the gift of feels. Woot!

The community and what we do are growing and becoming more important. I appreciate and applaud what we have achieved and what we will yet achieve for romance writers and readers, and how we have designated ourselves to be the (sort of) guardians of the romance genre. Don’t diss us. We will fight back. Rawr.

Gette

3) What are your recommended romanceclass reads?

I have yet to plow through my romanceclass TBR pile because I’ve only read very few. But among those, I recommend:

Dare to Love by C.P. Santi
The Queen’s Game by Carla K. de Guzman
Iris After The Incident by Mina V. Esguerra
The Kitchen When It Sizzles by Chrissie Peria
Promdi Heart (because love your own)
Summer Feels (kasi nga love your own)

Dare to Love Queen's Game Iris After the Incident

The Kitchen When It Sizzles - indie Promdi Heart Summer Feels

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Georgette began writing novels as Edith Joaquin of My Special Valentine Tagalog (Filipino) Romance pocketbooks, published by Bookware Publishing Corp. She started writing in English and self-pubbing works in the middle of 2015.

Gette works best at night, is also an editor, a public/media relations consultant, loves to cook pasta dishes and to eat caramel cake.

Website | Twitter | Instagram

romanceclass origins: Miles Tan

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, I’m delighted to have Miles Tan on the blog. She’s romanceclass’ resident tech support, graphic and cover designer, and the creator of the romanceclass logo! In case you didn’t know, the romanceclass logo is based on her handwriting. I’m also very grateful to her for designing the romanceclass origins logo (because yay, it’s consistent with the original one so that makes my feature legit). In true Miles fashion, this post includes some of her original artwork. Please give Miles a warm welcome as she shares her origin story!

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1) How did you discover romanceclass?

It was 2013 and I was struggling with a job where I thought I could stay and flourish in, but the hours and workload were pushing me to forget to take care of myself and my family. I was looking for any outlet that could help me just relieve the pressures of work.

It was also around this time that I had been playing online with friends on a text-based RPG message board. If you’re not familiar with this system, it’s a little like round-robin writing. A gamemaster would set the scenario and the player – characters would respond, and whole stories would unfold. This sparked my interest to get back into one of my first loves: writing.

Chris Mariano and Chrissie Peria (authors of Cover (Story) Girl and All Fair’s in Blog and War respectively) had introduced Mina V. Esguerra’s works to me and mentioned the class she was setting up. So what the heck, I already had the beginnings of what was going to be Finding X, and the rest is — as they say — history.

Miles Tan - sketch01

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

‘Found family’ is one of my favorite tropes, and I found one with #romanceclass. With the group I found a place that has a lot of heart and full of acceptance.

It is also a place of opportunities for anyone of any capacity. You don’t have to be a writer or a reader. Some of us have become beta readers, subject matter experts, editors, artists, event planners(!) and code monkeys, resources that are all available to the members when they decide to write their own stories. This is the most supportive community I found, and I love them for it.

I may have originally joined the group to write, but I’ve stayed because of the support. And I like supporting back. There’s art, there’s code, there’s showing up. Being given opportunities outside the group that are an offshoot of all these (a wider network, more art and coding jobs) is like extra cheese on an already hearty spaghetti bolognese.

It’s one of the reasons I designed the logo that way. It’s about and for a community that talks, writes, and does everything from the heart.

Miles Tan - sketch02(1)

3) What are your recommended romanceclass reads?

There’s so much! Here are good starting points though

Fairy Tale Fail by Mina V. Esguerra (not technically #romanceclass, but definitely paved the way for me)
Cover (Story) Girl by Chris Mariano
All’s Fair in Blog and War by Chrissie Peria
Blast from the Two Pasts by Kristel S. Villar
Beginner’s Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions by Six de los Reyes
Waiting in the Wings by Tara Frejas

Fairy Tale Fail 2017 Cover Story Girl All's Fair in Blog and War

Blast From Two Pasts_ Beginner's Guide - Love and Other Chemical Reactions Waiting in the Wings

While I’m in between the stories in my own head, I also live vicariously through the books I’ve done covers of. Keep the Faith, Midnights in Bali, Summer Crush, Young Love, Summer Feels, and Ghost of Feeling are just some of those!

Keep the Faith Fall Like Rain Midnights in Bali Summer Crush Summer Feels

Young Love Ghost of a Feeling Waiting in the Wings Like Nobody's Watching FLAIR You Out of Nowhere

Seriously though, I suggest browsing romanceclassbooks.com and you might just find a book you’ll love.

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miles-tanMiles Tan is a #romanceclass author, creative and tech support. And now also a pasta cravings instigator #StarchHere. She likes inhabiting imaginary worlds, from fantasy books to sci-fi shows to cheeky mysteries to role-playing games.

Finding X is her first published novella. Her short story, Something Real, is included in the YA Luna East anthology, Kids These Days.

Website: milestanbooks.com
Twitter: maedinn
Instagram: milestan.author

romanceclass origins: Six de los Reyes

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, we have romanceclass’ resident mermaid on the blog where she shares her SUPER SLOW BURN introduction to the group. I’m going to admit that what she had to say made me tear up. Please give Six de los Reyes a warm welcome!

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1) How did you discover romanceclass?

My first encounter with #romanceclass was at Aklatan 2013 where I very awkwardly (after circling the table too many times) met Mina V. Esguerra and Chris Mariano at their booth. They gave me the intro to the community, to Author at Once, and to the Facebook group. Naturally, I came in a skeptic. Still, I exchanged emails with Chris and thought to myself, maybe this could work? Then in November that same year I joined the #buqosteamyreads workshop. I didn’t expect much, didn’t want much, didn’t think I’d stick around long enough for anything to happen. I just thought to myself, at least I’m doing something about this writing thing? I had a book after all, and I had all these stories begging to be written.

Anyway, through the first two years I lurked about the community and went to whatever event without interacting with anybody – not online or IRL. I remember sitting at the very back of the room at the Luna East launch, just watching these people who seemed to know each other very well enjoy their success. I remember meeting “Camilla Sisco” at our #romanceclass2014 Intro batch. I remember making online friends at the #SparkNA hashtag. I remember thinking, just one more workshop, just one more book launch, just one more and maybe I’d get something out of it? I ended up joining every workshop that came up for the next two years. At the time, it didn’t occur to me what it was I had already found there with these people. That I already did get something out of it, just not in the way I’d thought.

Hello, I'm a mermaid.

A post shared by Six de los Reyes (@sixdlr) on

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

#romanceclass is my safe space, my happy space. I say it all the time, #romanceclass saved my life. You hear this a lot because it’s true for so many of us. For so long I’ve felt unwanted and invisible – turns out I was loitering at the wrong end of the visible spectrum. Since joining the community, I’ve met people who see me as I am, socially inept, anxious, your resident 100% introvert hooman and all that applies and yet somehow I belong. After all these years, I finally found somewhere I belong. #romanceclass taught me it’s okay to have feelings, to feel the feelings however you feel your feelings. They’ve taught me how to acknowledge self-care is necessary because I need to show up either online or IRL otherwise there will be summons in ALL CAPS on Twitter or Instagram (and once at my doorstep). They’ve taught me that all the validation I need should come from me. They’ve taught me all this through the kindness (and patience) they show me, in the way they believe in me, and in the way they lovingly strong-arm me to just write the damn thing because later we can fix it. In this community, we have books, we have cute boys and girls, we have feelings, and most of all we have each other.

I came in thinking “What do I get out of this?” and now here I am thinking “What more can I do? What else can I give?”

#romanceclass, how dare you give me water and sunlight and room to grow?

3) What are your recommended romanceclass reads?

Iris After the Incident by Mina V. Esguerra
You Out of Nowhere by Jay E. Tria
If The Dress Fits by Carla de Guzman
Waiting in the Wings by Tara Frejas
Don’t Tell My Mother by Brij Bautista
Another Word for Happy by Agay Llanera
Finding X by Miles Tan

Iris After the Incident FLAIR You Out of Nowhere If the Dress Fits Waiting in the Wings

Don't Tell My Mother Another Word for Happy Finding X

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Six de los ReyesSix de los Reyes has been reading and making up stories for as far as she can remember. In fifth grade, she learned to write about the stories she wanted to read. As a pretend grownup, she writes contemporary romance novels. Her day job doing science has something to do with being a part-time mermaid and a part-time labrat. She currently lives next to the sea.

Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Wattpad

romanceclass origins: Abbie from romanceclasstrash

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, I’m happy to have a fellow reader as a guest on the blog. Abbie (Twitter, Instagram) is here to talk about how she first discovered romanceclass. Abbie is one of the girls behind romanceclasstrash (Twitter, Instagram) which is a group of dedicated readers of romanceclass books who tirelessly promote the community’s titles and events. Thank you for being here, Abbie!

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1) How did you discover romanceclass?

It all started when a friend of mine posted about Mina’s books that were published then under Summit Media. I got curious and looked for those books everywhere and when I finally got a copy and read That Kind of Guy, I instantly became a fan of hers. At September of 2013, I finally met her in person at Aklatan. I think she was with Chris Mariano that time selling romance class ebooks. I bought those ebooks, of course, and they were officially the first romance class ebooks in my collection. The rest, as they say, is history.

Abbie and Mina

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

Being a part of the romanceclass community is really a big thing for me.

• If not for this community, I would still be the aloof, awkward girl that I was years ago. I’m still an awkward potato every now and then but at least I managed to improve my social skills.

• I met a lot of awesome people (authors, readers and live readers) who share my passion for reading romance books

• romanceclass taught me to be more open, understanding and accepting of the LGBT community and other things. It’s not that I despise or don’t like them, but if I was the person I was before being part of the community, I will not comment on anything and just look on the other side when issues regarding LGBT arise. But now, I’ll stand and fight for those people because they deserve to be recognized and accepted.

• I feel like people from the community are not only my friends but are already my family.

Abbie - romanceclasstrash

3) What are your recommended romanceclass reads?

Oh. There are too many to mention! But whenever I want to enable people to read romanceclass books, these are the titles that I recommend:

All of Mina V. Esguerra’s books
If the Dress Fits by Carla de Guzman
Feels Like Summer by Six de los Reyes
Prep and Prejudice by Miren B. Flores
Playlist Series by Jay E. Tria
Choco Chip Hips by Agay Llanera
Another Word for Happy by Agay Llanera
Waiting in the Wings by Tara Frejas
The Last Time I’ll Write About You by Dawn Lanuza
Before I Lose My Nerve by Layla Tanjutco
Dare to Love by C.P. Santi
Promdi Heart by Georgette Gonzales, Agay Llanera, Chris Mariano, Jay E. Tria, Ines B. Yao
Summer Crush by Jay E. Tria, Six de los Reyes and Tara Frejas

My Imaginary Ex - 2017 Fairy Tale Fail 2017 Love Your Frenemies - 2018 edition That Kind of Guy 2017 What You Wanted 2018

If the Dress Fits Feels Like Summer Prep and Prejudice Songs of Our Breakup Waiting in the Wings

The Last Time I'll Write About You Before I Lose My Nerve Dare to Love Promdi Heart Summer Crush

romanceclass origins: Clare E. Marquez

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, romanceclass author Clare E. Marquez, nicknamed Jang, shares how she first found out about the community. Jang is one of the sweetest people I’ve come to know through the group, she’s so thoughtful and always has something nice to say in any situation. Thank you for being a guest on my blog today, Jang!

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1) How did you discover romanceclass?

A friend of mine, Veron, told me about an online writing class that Mina V. Esguerra will facilitate in March of 2015. She was an avid follower of Mina and when she saw her advise, she thought of asking me to join her in this class. So I did and it was one of the best things that happened to me in terms of reviving my dream of being a writer.

Writing took a backseat after college for me. I had some scribbles here and there, mostly unfinished scenes, dialogues, stories that really never saw the light of day. I have notebooks since I was ten with all stories. My goal in attending Mina’s class was to just finish a full-length novel in less than 3 months – that was the length of the class – and that’s what happened. I was so happy about it.

Jang - Romanceclass 2015

So from Mina, I discovered this world of Filipino authors who write in English. I attended #AprilFeels in 2015 at the Pegi Waffles and met in person Filipino authors, experienced my first live reading of #GaHoates (Gio Gahol and Rachel Coates). It was so much fun but more than anything so meaningful to me. I was in awe and so impressed by everyone. It was a great place to be for people like me who loves to read – and write! – romance novels. I felt I was in a good place with the company of amazing people. So I started following other members of #romanceclass in Twitter, always checking out the happenings of the community.

When my first novel Simply Joei was chosen by Anvil as one of the novels to be printed from the 2015 class of Mina, I was ecstatic. It was nothing I expected but everything I hoped for. I learned a little about the ins and outs of traditional publishing when I was dealing with Anvil. Then I also learned about self-publishing and the #romanceclass people are the most selfless, supportive people one can find in this industry. All people I’ve messaged, whether I met in person or not, have helped me patiently, answered my questions and was so open to any other help I needed. So two months after Simply Joei was launched by Anvil in 2017, I launched my self-published book Just Kate in April 2017.

Again, the support of #romanceclass was unbelievable and I have never been luckier to find a place where I am so proud to belong.

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

To belong to a community that pushes you forward to be the best you can be, who accepts you for who and what you are and understands your passion – supports you selflessly – is a GIFT. #Romanceclass membership is a special gift to me, one I know I will forever be grateful for.

Being a member of #romanceclass means the world to me. It opened many doors for me, introduced me to awesome people (the best!) and I learned so many things about writing, publishing, (also food, k-pop, science, arts, politics, theater, Minola oil, among other things). When I participated in the #GoReadWrite2017 event at Raffles in 2017, it was so wonderful to share the experience with veteran and first time authors like me. I know for sure I would not have done anything I did in the last two years – writing, publishing, public speaking – without the #romanceclass community. I witnessed first-hand the unwavering, generous support the community has for each other. The community lift up each other and we have the pompoms to prove it.

My heart will forever be grateful for this world-class community and to be part of it is something I will always wear in my heart.

Jang - Go Read Write Panel 2017

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3) What are your recommended romanceclass reads?

There are A LOT of books written by #romanceclass authors and here are some of my favorites:

Learning to Fall by Mina Esguerra
Midnights in Bali by Carla de Guzman
All’s Fair in Blog and War by Chrissie Peria
Sounds Like Summer by Six de los Reyes
The Real Score by Kesh Tanglao
The Duke Takes a Bride by Suzette de Borja
Bucket List to Love by C.P. Santi
Keeping the Distance by Clarisse David

Learning to Fall Midnights in Bali All's Fair in Blog and War Sounds Like Summer

The Real Score The Duke Takes a Bride Bucket List to Love The Duke Takes a Bride

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Clare E. MarquezClare Elisabeth Marquez enjoys sitting in her pajamas while looking out the window from her amazingly massive writer’s desk, reveling in the glorious beauty of snow-capped mountains as she sips her warm, soothing coffee.

Then she wakes up. And writes.

A closet romantic through and through, C.E. Marquez is a voracious reader, writer, and dreamer, never failing to believe that dreams can come true for those who wait… and do something about it! Her towering piles of notes of handwritten stories (which she started collecting when she was ten!) are her well-kept treasures, tattered and bruised, but still waiting for their chance to see the light.

She writes about things that matter: love, life, and everything else in between.

You can contact her through authorcemarquez@gmail. com — but only if you want her to reply!

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

romanceclass origins: E.K. Gonzales

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. I have not had the pleasure of meeting E.K. in person but we have interacted online, and I’m so glad she’s here on the blog today to share her introduction to the romanceclass community. Thank you for being here, E.K.!

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1) How did you discover romanceclass?

My relationship with romanceclass is a long story. ^^;;

I come into it first knowing Ana Tejano, Liana Bautista, Stella Torres, and Anne Plaza from Pinoywrimos, and maybe learned about the Mina V. Esguerra from invites to speak and such.

From that I learned of the first formal romanceclass session. I flunked epically; I dropped out on outline stage. Boss Ana Tejano actually finished a book. So did Chrissie Peria, so I was hooked with All’s Fair in Blog and War. And yet when I visited the event that had the completed works, I was greeted happily by people. I was allowed to stay in the Facebook group, so I did.

I also tried for #heistclub, an event monitored by romanceclass, but also dropped out on that. And yet I was welcomed to things. There was also the #JustWritePH event, also monitored by romanceclass. I WAS able to finish a short story for that, and met a few more people. If I’m not mistaken there was an earlier romanceclassYA class, but I also dropped out of that one.

It is also true what Tara Frejas says that I first met her during a one-on-one online publishing seminar where it was just me and Tara and Mina. It was fun (I apologize for giving Mina a lot of trouble), I had a lot of coffee, I learned about Paper Planes Back Home, and I launched a book onto Amazon, yay!

Eventually the romanceclass events happened, so I started going to the ones I could. More people are met that way. More books were read that way. I also started attending the various workshops that Mina and friends offered. I met some more people that way.

So I was slowly brought into the growing romanceclass community that way, by meeting people who knew people who knew people. Now, besides the awesome internationally-known authors, I know several local theater actors in a way I never expected in my wildest dreams, but here we are.

I also managed to finish the most recent romanceclassYA event (whew!), so there’s that. Progress. 🙂

Flock of indie romance authors 😍 (mibf)

A post shared by EKmisao (@komikninja) on

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

For quite a while I felt ‘Really? I am part of this community? Are you all sure?’. Especially because I dropped out of more than one class run by romanceclass people, and I don’t have a romanceclass book out. And yet everyone has made me feel welcome, in various ways. I get full hugs and hellos from lots of people during events. I got cheers for planning not a dress to FeelsSoProm (it’s important to me). People also like Atom (ehehe).

Some have even helped me with personal, non-romance book projects (Thank you Janus! Thank you your highness! and Thank you Tara for the help! and thank you to everybody for all the RTs of my stuff). If the Tales of the Activated are on the nets, it’s because of romanceclass, and I will always be grateful. Actually the book 2 may be a better thing because of knowing romanceclass.

I am grateful for the lessons in aspects of self-publishing: preparing the book for publishing, getting a cover made, getting it up on Amazon and other places, having a social media presence. I am thankful for all the lessons in the writing craft in general. I am a much better writer for having them. I am also grateful for the constant reminding that the author owns rights. It has been very helpful.

This being accepted unconditionally by a writing community has been wonderful. Thank you to all of you.

3) What are your recommended romanceclass reads?

I still need to read a lot of the books, but of those I have read, I will recommend.

The Interim Goddess of Love trilogy by Mina Esguerra, my gateway to the queen Mina and her world
All’s Fair in Blog and War by Chrissie Peria
Keep the Faith by Ana Tejano
Ghost of a Feeling by Celestine Trinidad, because friend of three worlds, and this is really good
If the Dress Fits by Carla de Guzman
Sounds Like Summer by Six Delos Reyes, because I needed it
Beginner’s Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions by Six Delos Reyes
Start Here by various authors, because I really needed it
Promdi Heart by various authors
Scandalized by Tara Frejas
Like Nobody’s Watching by Tara Frejas, because Fred… and because Pio

Interim Goddess of Love_digital cover All's Fair in Blog and War Keep the Faith Ghost of a Feeling

If the Dress Fits Sounds Like Summer Beginner's Guide - Love and Other Chemical Reactions Start Here - ebook

Promdi Heart Scandalized Like Nobody's Watching

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EK Gonzales_IconEK Gonzales is a speculative fiction writer who follows indie komiks and follows the awesome Pinoy romance writers of romanceclass. She (they is cool, if you like) has a writing history that includes publication in Philippine Genre Stories, Philippine Speculative Fiction volume 4 and 10, and Ruin and Resolve. She will always be grateful for being a part of the #romanceclass community.

Image artwork by Mel Casipit.

Instagram: @komikninja
Facebook: @pinoykomikninja
Twitter: @ek_phwriter

romanceclass origins: Jay E. Tria

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. I have loved all of the romanceclass origins posts that I’ve received and I’m grateful to everyone who has joined so far (HUGE THANKS ❤ ) but I just have to say that this is the first that has made me tear up. Huhuhu why, Jay, why?

Without further ado, please give romanceclass author Jay E. Tria a warm welcome to this book nook!

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Jay - StrangeLit from Chiqui Perez3

1) How did you discover romanceclass?

I had a book and no idea what to do with it. I’ve tried querying international agents and had a couple of polite rejections and a lot of ignored emails. The more I read and the deeper I went into figuring out how to get published, the more I felt that maybe this would be a hard path for a Filipino author to take. I felt like I had to look for someone – an agent, a publishing house – who was looking for an author who lived where I lived and who wrote the things I did, and it felt like such a specific task. A good-as-impossible scenario. So while in that state, researching on how Filipino authors get published, I came across several magic, life-changing words: self-publishing, Mina V. Esguerra, and #romanceclass. I found Mina’s blog Publishing in Pajamas, read almost all of her posts and bookmarked this one post about how she did it–wrote and published her book. I read it so many times like an adobo recipe I was determined not to fail. I clung onto that for strength to continue wanting and working to be published. I learned about her company Bronze Age Media and sent her an email asking if they accept manuscripts for publication. (Mina, if you’re reading this, please don’t go back and reread that email because all the cringing my goodness. I am so sorry /cries) Two years later (yes, it took me this long), I gathered up all I had and called her while on lunch break at the office to ask about getting an editor. She was very nice and very patient. I had a lot of questions. A lot. I remember the call getting cut and my anxiety at having to call again. But I did. I called again and asked more questions. I was instructed to send my manuscript and wait. I sent and waited. This was Blossom Among Flowers. While that’s happening, I went through old drafts and found one I’ve been working on and off for a few years. I finished it. By the time Layla Tanjutco emailed me, the first draft was done so I sent it to her. This was Songs of Our Breakup. While that’s happening I also joined #StrangeLit and yay, yes finished an urban fantasy. This was Majesty. I released Blossom Among Flowers first, and then Songs of Our Breakup before that workshop was done, with about a month in between. I remember Mina retweeting my SOOB tweet and saying I was a #StrangeLit participant. I remember her using the #romanceclass tag when she finished reading the book and said she liked it. ‘Lovely book,’ she said. The memory still gives me unicorn wings. I joined the Facebook group and made a warm nest of the community, its people. This was late 2015. I remember crying a little inside and thinking hey, look at that, I got to publish my book. Books. It’s not impossible after all.

Jay - StrangeLit

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

Why are these questions making me cry, Chachic? It’s not the questions, it’s me? Okay let’s carry on. #romanceclass to me means possibilities. It means enablement and empowerment. It means you can do what you love while also doing the other things you’re good at. You don’t have to choose. In some ways, you can have it all. It means finding your people. For the longest, longest time I was the only person I knew who had voices in her head, running daydreams, episodic memories, imaginary people, stories that were loud and won’t shut up even after years and years. I had no one to talk to and no one who understood. I had bookworm friends sure, but it’s just not the same. People knew I wrote and that writing was my ‘thing’, but they didn’t know about my romance fiction. They were not allowed to know about my romance fiction. Joining #romanceclass felt so cathartic. It felt like freedom, like coming home. Also, we have pretty, wonderful people and we talk a lot about feels and abs. That’s always nice.

Jay - StrangeLit from Chiqui Perez2

3) What are your recommended romanceclass reads?

It’s like asking me to choose a favorite ice cream flavor. Chachic, please take time to evaluate how mean this question is. I still need to answer it? Okay fine. Top of mind, okay? What You Wanted by Mina V. Esguerra, Only A Kiss by Ines Bautista Yao, Choco Chip Hips by Agay Llanera, Bucket List to Love by C.P. Santi, Waiting in the Wings by Tara Frejas, Sounds Like Summer by Six delos Reyes, What About Today by Dawn Lanuza, Takedown trilogy by Bianca Mori, Cover (Story) Girl by Chris Mariano, Loveless. Childless. Clueless. by Miren B. Flores, The Queen’s Game by Carla De Guzman, Don’t Tell My Mother by Brigitte Bautista, Fall Like Rain by Ana Tejano. Uggh there’s so many and it feels like I’m missing to mention a lot. Obviously this is not an exhaustive list. I have a lot a lot a lot to catch up on, and isn’t that the best problem? The thing you need to know though (I mean you, reader, if you’re new to #romanceclass) is that the magic of this community is that there are so many authors with such distinct voices, all bearing their own truths, that you are sure to find your book boyfriend, your story, the book (books!) that will belong to you.

What You Wanted Only a Kiss Choco Chip Hips Bucket List to Love Waiting in the Wings

Sounds Like Summer What About Today In Too Deep Cover Story GirlLoveless Childless Clueless

Queen's Game Don't Tell My Mother Fall Like Rain

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Jay E. Tria is inspired by daydreams, celebrity crushes, a childhood fascination of Japanese drama and manga, and an incessant itch to travel. She writes contemporary young adult and new adult romance. Sometimes, paranormal fantasy too.

Visit her website http://www.jayetria.com

Email: jayetria@gmail.com
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Wattpad: jayetria