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

romanceclass origins: Chris Mariano

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. 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!

Chris and Chachic - Jan 2018

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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)

Keep the Faith Dare to Love What You Wanted No Strings Attached_New Cover

Waiting in the Wings Chasing Waves Choco Chip Hips Promdi Heart

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Chris Mariano - Author-PhotoChris 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.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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romanceclass origins: H. Bentham

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.

First post for this feature can be found here. And today, we have author H. Bentham on the blog for his guest post for romanceclass origins. Please give him warm welcome!

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1) How did you discover romanceclass?

My first writing class was actually #StrangeLit in 2015 and although Mina V. Esguerra was one of the mentors, I didn’t really know of the community until after that class was over. See, I wasn’t able to finish my ambitious novella for that – it’s still in progress to this day, tbh – and as I was tweeting to cheer on everyone else, I got to talk to other authors who were part of this community. One of those authors was Jay E. Tria, whose Songs of Our Breakup opened the doors to this marvelous world of Filipino Romance for me. Other authors who welcomed me to the fold were C.P. Santi (Be Careful What You Wish For), Tara Frejas (Paper Planes Back Home), Ana Tejano (Fall Like Rain) and Chris Mariano (Cover (Story) Girl).

I will admit that I have not given the romance genre, and Filipino books for that matter, the time of the day before I got my hands on these, but now I don’t read much of anything else aside from romance and my favorite books are by Filipino writers.

Eventually, I joined #romanceclass2016 and finally got to finish a manuscript of my own! And while that MS will probably never see the light of day (I was deeply problematic back then, don’t ask) one of my other stories reached publication a year after, through Summer Feels!

H. Bentham - romanceclass origins

Ben’s first romanceclass TBR pile

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

It means I get to do the things I love most – reading and writing – alongside people who get it. The kilig and abs the community constantly deliver (from the books, to the live-readings, to the Facebook Group discussions!) is a wonderful bonus!

I am very grateful to everyone, especially Mina and all the other authors I look up to, for allowing readers and beginning writers like me have this safe space to discuss things we’re passionate about, while also supporting us in reaching our dreams. I mean, I knew what I wanted to read about, what I wanted to write about and I’ve joined a ton of reading/writing groups because of that but only #romanceclass allowed me to learn the HOW to do it. It allowed me to experiment, to make mistakes, and essentially, to be my true self.

Honestly, becoming an actual writer is an amazing thing to achieve, but having all these wonderful people and call them friends? That’s the best part. 🙂

H. Bentham - romanceclass origins

Author Jay E. Tria signs something for Ben

3) What are your recommended romanceclass reads?

The thing with #romanceclass books is if you enjoy even 1 short story in the catalogue, you’ll CRAVE to read more of it. And then you’ll discover each book has this special something of their own while still staying true to the trademark #romanceclass kilig! It then becomes impossible to recommend even a just handful. LOL. Still, here’s my attempt to list my favorites:

  • Chic Manila Series by Mina V. Esguerra
  • Playlist Series – by Jay E. Tria
  • THE MULTI-AUTHOR ANTHOLOGIES, OMG: Kids These Days, Make My Wish Come True, Summer Feels, Summer Crush, Promdi Heart, 12 Months of Romance | 24 Stories to Love, and the upcoming Start Here!
  • Another Word for Happy by Agay Llanera
  • Don’t Tell My Mother by Brigitte Bautista
Love Your Frenemies - 2018 edition Songs of Our Breakup Another Word for Happy Don't Tell My Mother

Kids These Days Make My Wish Come True Summer Feels Summer Crush

Promdi Heart 12 Months of Romance Start Here - ebook

That’s my top of mind faves. LOL. I’m pretty sure I missed out on some of my favorite authors but I’m pretty sure the anthologies more than cover up for it.

Thank you Chachic for having me in your blog (so cute)! I didn’t expect to answer that second question so dramatically, but what can I say? I love talking and writing about romanceclass so much!

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H. BenthamH. Bentham’s stories are inspired by daydreams and aspirations that are not entirely his own. He wrote “Guide for A Day” for Summer Feels, a #romanceclass Anthology; and “The Watch Repairman’s Son” in the multi-genre anthology Beyond Light and Darkness. Reach him: @bentchbites everywhere (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Wattpad) and authorh.bentham@gmail.com

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romanceclass origins: A New Blog Feature

romanceclass origins

I’m thrilled to introduce a new blog feature called romanceclass origins! If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you would have heard me mention romanceclass several times. If you’re new here, romanceclass is a community of:
– Authors who attended romanceclass, the steamy reads, YA classes organized by Mina V. Esguerra
– Readers of the books by those authors
– Readers of English-language romance books by Filipino authors

Basically a group of authors and readers who gather together to support indie published contemporary romance written by Filipino authors. The first actual class was held in 2013. Since then, 78 authors have written and published more than 150 books (some have gone on to be traditionally published both locally in the Philippines and internationally). Alongside that growth, the community has also gained a solid readership base that will hopefully keep growing in time.

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. These are what I want to highlight with romanceclass origins. The blog posts would be interesting for community members, and would also serve as an introduction to romanceclass for those who aren’t familiar with it. I would like to thank Mina and Layla for helping me come up with the feature name when we recently met up, and for Miles Tan for creating the logo for this feature. I’m keeping it simple with three questions, and I thought it would be fun to start things off with my own answers. 🙂

1) How did you discover romanceclass?
I met Mina and have read her books before she started romanceclass. Authors Chris Mariano and Ana Tejano were book bloggers like me before their romanceclass books were published, so I feel like we’re sort of batchmates. 😛 I love reading and supporting books written by Filipino authors so that’s what I’ve been doing ever since romanceclass books have been released, and that’s how I started meeting other members of the community.

2) What does being part of the romanceclass community mean to you?
I’m very grateful to be part of the romanceclass community, in various capacities over the years. I borrowed my good friend April’s words and have called myself a romanceclass ninja, because I feel like that best describes and encapsulates my involvement in the community. I’ve talked about having a sense of belonging in the worldwide online book community in a previous post, and that’s how I feel about being a member of the romanceclass community. I feel like I’ve carved out a niche for myself, and I’ve found people who enjoy reading as much as I do, read the same type of books that I like (ROMANCE), and are more than happy to have discussions about these books. More than that, I enjoy actively participating in the various events that the romanceclass community has, or even just the impromptu meet ups with other readers and authors. I love that being involved in the community simply means putting your hand up when something is needed, or randomly volunteering to do something that you think would be beneficial to other people. I feel like the romanceclass community is such a supportive, warm and welcoming group. I have met so many wonderful people through romanceclass, and it will take way too long to list all of them. You know who you guys are, and I want to thank all of you for making me feel like I’ve found my people. ❤

Some pictures to show how much fun we have, swipe left to see everything:

3) What are your recommended romanceclass reads?
Here are some of the titles I’ve enjoyed reading, linked to my reviews if I have them:

Fairy Tale Fail 2017 Learning to Fall Better At Weddings Than You cover Iris After the Incident What You Wanted

Cover-Story-Girl Choco Chip Hips Loveless Childless Clueless One Night at the Palace Hotel Feels Like Summer

Mina is one of the most prolific authors in the group, so I’ve read and enjoyed the most number of books written by her, but there are many other authors in my TBR list. I actually feel bad that my TBR pile is longer than the list of books that I’ve already read. Forgive me for being a slow reader! I feel like romanceclass authors publish books faster than I can read them. All of these books are available as Kindle editions on Amazon, so you can get a copy wherever you are as long as you have an Amazon account.

Hope you guys enjoyed reading this first ever romanceclass origins post! I’m hoping to make this a weekly feature, but we’ll see how it goes. I’ll be asking some of the romanceclass authors and readers I know personally to join this, but please feel free to reach out to me if you want to participate. 🙂 To those joining the FeelsFest 2017 event tomorrow, see you soon!