Cover Reveal: The Secrets That We Keep

The book cover for The Secrets That We Keep has been revealed! I’m actually a day late in posting this but better late than never, right? 😛 The Secrets That We Keep is a Filipino crime fiction anthology edited by Georgette Gonzales and Yeyet Soriano. Check out the cover spread for this upcoming title, with details about the book launch shared below:

The Secrets That We Keep

The Secrets That We Keep has five stories from new crime fiction authors. Four short stories from current authors. Nine bonus excerpts from upcoming releases. Cover design and layout by Porcupine Strongwill.

Join the book launch on March 24, 2018, 3-6pm at the Tweedle Book Cafe, Sct. Gandia, Quezon City, Philippines. More information can be found on the Facebook event page

Pre-order your print copies via


romanceclass YA-themed events

romanceclass-logoromanceclass is a community of authors and readers who gather together to support indie published contemporary romance in English written by Filipino authors.

romanceclass hosts regular Feels events (examples: Feels So Prom and Feels Fest) but aside from these, the group has also hosted several young adult-themed events. Last year I was able to join two romanceclass school events. The first one was held in November at St. Theresa’s College in Quezon City. Author Carla de Guzman graduated from this school and she kicked off the event by talking about her own experience as a writer. Mina V. Esguerra then shared some information about romanceclass as a community. She talked about the kind of books that authors write, and gave some examples of reviews and reactions from readers and bloggers. Then actors Migs Almendras and Salve Villarosa did what has become a signature romanceclass event staple: live readings. They read excerpts from the following romanceclass titles:

Freshman Girl and Junior Guy by Mina V. Esgurra
Settle the Score by Tara Frejas
The Queen’s Game by Carla de Guzman
Holiday Crush by Suzette de Borja.

romanceclass STC - Carla

romanceclass STC Mina

romanceclass STC - Salve and Migs

It was so much fun seeing the students reacting to the live readings! There was a Q and A portion but I think most of them were too shy to ask questions.

romanceclass STC

romanceclass STC - with Mina and Carla

The next school event I was able to join was held in December at Mandaluyong Science High School. This was a fun event for me because I graduated from a science high school (ages ago, no need to share what year haha). Mina gave an introduction about romanceclass and then there were live readings by Migs Almendras and Sam Aquino. This time, all romanceclass titles featured were written by authors from science high schools namely:

Monito, Monita by Celestine Trinidad
Songs to Make You Stay by Jay E. Tria
Sounds Like Summer by Six de los Reyes
Before I Lose My Nerve by Layla Tanjutco

romanceclass Mandaluyong - Mina

romanceclass Mandaluyong - students

romanceclass Mandaluyong - Migs and Sam

The students loved that the program included authors from science high schools! They asked questions about the writing process, bought books, and asked the authors and live readers (and even me) to sign stuff. We also discovered that poetry books are a big hit with them, all the copies that Layla brought with her were sold out.

romanceclass Mandaluyong - group pic

romanceclass Mandaluyong squad

Aside from these school events, romanceclass was also able to host a writing workshop last month. This event was sponsored by patrons of the group from Patreon. More details in these Instagram write-up posts (swipe to see all the photos):

Some of the photos from this post are from Carla, Jay, and Ines. I hope these YA-themed events have encouraged teen readers to pick up and read romanceclass titles. Hopefully reading romanceclass books will encourage some of them to write and maybe publish their own stories later on. Watch out for more school events and YA titles from romanceclass in the near future!

Start Here Blog Tour: Short Story Blurbs and Quotes

This week is Start Here’s blog tour! Late last year, I shared the cover reveal for this Filipino romance anthology featuring male/male, female/female and female/non-binary short stories. Today, I’m here to share blurbs and quotes from each story and I hope these will encourage you to give this anthology a try. Both print and ebook editions are available internationally and links on where to order them are shared below. I already have a copy on my Kindle and I’m looking forward to reading it. 🙂


Start Here - print cover

Start Here

Edited by Ronald S. Lim and Brigitte Bautista. Featuring short stories by Agay Llanera, H. Bentham, Ella Banta, Danice Sison, Yeyet Soriano, Barbie Barbieto, Katt Briones, Bobbi Moran, Motzie Dapul, and Brigitte Bautista. This anthology contains M/M, F/F, F/NB romance stories with happy endings. Some stories have a high heat level.

Release Date: January 27, 2018
Book Cover Design: Dani Hernandez

There’s a first time for everything. Gatecrashing a KPop concert with an oppa in a business suit. Taking shelter from the storm with the girl you’ve been meaning to shake off. That kiss that blurs the line between friendship and something more. A one-night stand (or, is it?) with your best friend from across the hallway.

Dive into these 10 stories of first encounters – unapologetically queer, happy endings required, with a smattering of that signature #romanceclass kilig. Whether you’re recalling your own firsts or out there looking for one, there’s a story in here for you.

So, go on.

Turn the page.

Start here.

Add Start Here on Goodreads:
Order Start Here on Amazon (int’l ebook and print):
Order Start Here on paperback (PH only):

Start Here - ebook


In the Moonlight by Agay Llanera

Seventeen-year-old Caleb has been burned by a previous relationship. While on vacation, he meets Ezra of the sculpted calves and disarming smile, who surprises him with a moonlight kiss. Caleb retreats – and regrets his decision. Thanks to the internet, he knows where to find his summer crush, but the more pressing question is, will Caleb have the courage to bare his heart again?


Come Full Circle by Bobbi Moran

You know you’re in love when you put somebody else’s happiness before yours. But waiting for fifteen years for someone to realize you are THE ONE may be taking this to the extreme.


Gorgeous by Motzie Dapul

New love in New York with a twist!

Two home-grown Filipinos fall in love after a chance meeting on a train to Little Manila in Queens, NY. They learn, over time spent enjoying the colorful culture of New York City’s streets, that they are, by all accounts, perfect for each other — before some unexpected baggage and a surprising history threatens to tear them apart.

Some things just don’t heal with time alone, but sometimes it’s only when it hurts that you know it’s worth trying for.


Shipping Included by Danice Sison

Two cute guys sneak into a K-pop concert. Neither one could be called a fan of the music, but by the end of the night, they might just find themselves with a new favorite song and a few romantic possibilities.


Delubyo by Barbie Barbieto

Pebbles has a strict four-month rule when it comes to relationships. But she’s about to find out what happens when you meet a woman who defies all your ideas of how long the space between endings and beginnings should be.


The Other Story by H. Bentham

A bored twenty-something goes to a sex club he frequently visits to while away the night and find that love sometimes comes at unexpected places.


Blooms and Hues by Ella Banta

Experience love in color and flowers.


Another First by Yeyet Soriano

Jess finally gets to have a long-delayed romantic get-away to Bohol with her hot but busy boyfriend Matteo. Beautiful resort, check! Romantic ambience, check!

But wait… Lily Rose, the resort’s resident singer and self-proclaimed mermaid, is distracting the hell out of everyone.


Luck From the Skies by Katt Briones

Asher Lee knew from the beginning that he was going to win the teen model search, but didn’t expect to share the title with his biggest competitor, Chan Valiente. Previously threatened by his former adversary’s talent and looks, Asher kept his walls up, only to find them crumbling down with Chan’s charms.

Would Asher be brave enough to take the leap and actually find his chance at love? Or will he and Chan remain to be a fan-made bromance?


Lemon Drop Friday by Brigitte Bautista

Tala has been secretly in love with her best friend Liv for years. Living right across the hallway, she has seen through Liv’s revolving door of Friday one-night stands. The rule: they always say goodbye in the morning. But, what happens when a rainy Friday night leads Tala to Liv’s apartment in what looks like another one-night stand?



Top Ten Tuesday: romanceclass Recommendations

Top Ten Tuesday - That Artsy Reader Girl

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature previously hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish and have now been moved over to That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is a love-themed freebie. Since I’m always happy to spread the word about romance written by Filipino authors, I’m choosing to focus on my recommended romanceclass titles this week. For those who don’t know, romanceclass is a community of authors and readers who gather together to support indie published contemporary romance written by Filipino authors. If you’re new to romanceclass, here are ten titles that you can start with:

Ghost of a Feeling Submission Moves - ebook Beginner's Guide - Love and Other Chemical Reactions Feels Like Summer FLAIR You Out of Nowhere

Fairy Tale Fail 2017 Better At Weddings Than You cover One Night at the Palace Hotel Cover Story Girl Loveless Childless Clueless

Ghost of a Feeling by Celestine Trinidad
Submission Moves by Camilla Sisco
Beginner’s Guide by Six de los Reyes
Feels Like Summer by Six de los Reyes
You Out of Nowhere by Jay E. Tria
Fairy Tale Fail by Mina V. Esguerra
Better at Weddings Than You by Mina V. Esguerra
One Night at the Palace Hotel by Bianca Mori
Cover (Story) Girl by Chris Mariano
Loveless. Childless. Clueless. by Miren B. Flores

Special mention to these romanceclass YA titles that I don’t really consider romance but more of coming-of-age stories:

Another Word for Happy Choco Chip Hips
Another Word for Happy by Agay Llanera
Choco Chip Hips by Agay Llanera

This month, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to read a few more romanceclass titles from my TBR pile, these ones are high on my list:

Waiting in the Wings by Tara Frejas
If the Dress Fits by Carla de Guzman
Keeping the Distance by Clarisse David
Tame the Kitten by Bianca Mori
Swept Off My Feet by Ines Bautista Yao
The Princess Finds Her Match by Suzette de Borja

All of these books are available in Amazon, I believe most are available for free if you’re on Kindle Unlimited. Some are on sale and I’m linking to a Twitter thread I created which lists titles currently available for just 0.99usd:

What about you, how did you choose to spin this week’s Top Ten Tuesday? Are you rereading and recommending some of your favorite romances this month? 🙂


Feels Fest 2017: a romanceclass event


Feels Fest 2017 was a romanceclass event held last weekend. More than a week has passed by and I still don’t think I’ve recovered from the feels and fun brought by this event. And I’m not even sure how to articulate what went on but let me try! This was only the second Feels event that I’ve attended since coming home in June, the first was Feels So Hot. Feels So Hot was already different from previous romanceclass events because the excerpts read during the live readings were steamy scenes. But I feel like Feels Fest 2017 has gone up to a whole different level of awesome. It’s like the best kind of bookish party where it’s really a celebration of Filipino romance.

Some highlights and pictures that I posted on my Instagram account, swipe left to see all the pictures:

You know that feeling when you're with people who love the same things you do, who understand you and accept you for who you are and what you're capable of? A warm and welcoming crowd, everyone giving as much of themselves as they can, extreme appreciation of what is offered, conversations that don't quit, hugs all around. The very definition of being part of a community. That's what it means to be in #romanceclass. ALWAYS A BLAST! Kayo talaga yung dahilan kung bakit ako umuwi ng Pinas, cheret. Love you, guys.💕🙌 Thanks for being extra. #FeelsFest2017 . . . . PS: "Landian" in Filipino means "flirting" so #romancelandian is romance + flirting, a play on #romancelandia coined by @readbyher. Just add one more letter, totally different meaning.👌

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I won’t repeat what I said in the caption above, but that captures perfectly how I felt about Feels Fest. Here is a Twitter thread with even more pictures from my phone, click on it and scroll down to see a slew of pictures from the event:

I think it’s pretty obvious that I enjoyed the whole event, but there were new things that have never been done in a previous romanceclass event that I wanted to highlight. One was poetry readings, adapted by Tara Frejas from books by Dawn Lanuza and Layla Tanjutco:

Feels Fest poetry readings

Another one was a real theater production of a scene from Fairy Tale Fail by Mina V. Esguerra. During live readings, the actors usually read out the scenes from sheets of paper that they’re holding. But this time, Gio and Rachel acted out a scene from Mina’s book and A REAL KISS HAPPENED. My heart! And it’s one of my favorite romanceclass books too, my first ever Mina book.

Fairy Tail Fail - Gio and Rachel kiss

The other one is Fred and Vanya singing a song from the musical Dear Evan Hansen, that I absolutely loved. Both of them were amazing, but also the message of the song is filled with so much emotion. Now I want to watch Dear Evan Hansen! But I believe it’s only being shown on Broadway so good luck, not sure that will ever happen.

Last but not the least, fellow romanceclass ninjas April, Jothee, Kat and I had so much fun putting together a video of members of the international romance community sharing greetings and messages of hope and encouragement to the romanceclass community. I thought it was a lovely way of showing how the romanceclass community ties together with the larger international romance community.

Thank you so much, Lucy Parker, Lydia San Andres, Eloisa James, Courtney Milan, Laura Florand, Sarah Wendell, Sarina White Bowen, Jennifer Hallock, Rebekah Weatherspoon, Tif Marcelo and Beverly Jenkins!

As if we didn’t have enough going on during the event (or maybe because we’re clingy?), a huge group had dinner at a Korean restaurant, followed by drinks and a sleepover. SO. MUCH. FUN.

Feels Fest - Korean dinner

Definitely a weekend well spent! If you want to learn more about Feels Fest 2017, feel free to watch the videos in two Youtube channels I shared below. Also, you can go through the other recaps I’ve linked to. We all have different perspectives and pictures of the event.

Videos from the program of the event:
Gela Uy’s Youtube
Veronica’s Youtube

Recap from other event attendees:
Veronica at Brain Tabs
Ben at Idle Hands
Tara at her website
Fay on her blog
Mina at her website


Introducing romanceclassFlair


I’m super excited to share this news with all of you! If you follow me and the #romanceclass hashtag on social media, you’ll be seeing a lot of this in the coming months. FLAIR (or #romanceclassFlair) is a new, ongoing project to release steamy contemporary romance (in English) by Filipino authors. There are four new titles from four different romanceclass authors about to be released, and these books will be unapologetically sexy.

Flair is not a publisher, but there is a single Flair team that is working with the authors on all the books. The team is composed of romanceclass community authors, readers, editors, designers. We all agreed on what sexy contemporary Filipino romance should be, and the books should show it. What can you expect? Alternating POV. New ways of telling favorite tropes. Filipino characters. Lots of heat.

The first Flair book will be released in November. Follow romanceclass books on these social media accounts to see more details in the coming weeks: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


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!


Ten Hidden Gems in Filipino Romance

Top Ten Tuesday2

I haven’t done a Top Ten Tuesday post in ages! As always, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is a freebie, we get to highlight hidden gems in any genre of our choice. Since August is Buwan Ng Mga Akdang Pinoy can be roughly translated as “Month of Filipino Authors” or even “Month of Filipino Books”. I mostly read romanceclass books (Indie pubbed Filipino romance written in English) so that’s what I choose to focus on for this post. 😀


There are a few romanceclass titles that have gotten international recognition, such as Learning to Fall by Mina V. Esguerra which was reviewed on Dear Author or Beginner’s Guide by Six de los Reyes which was reviewed on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books and was included in NPR’s Book Concierge last year. But most of the titles are more under-the-radar, which is a shame because I think they can have appeal to a wider audience. Here are five romanceclass titles that I consider as hidden gems:

Feels Like Summer Iris After the Incident Cover-Story-Girl One Night at the Palace Hotel

And here are five more that I haven’t read yet, but are high on my TBR pile because of recommendations… these books would be my introduction to these authors:

If the Dress Fits Songs of Our Breakup The Princess Finds Her Match What About Today Waiting in the Wings

All of these are available as Kindle editions on Amazon, so you can buy copies of them wherever you are. I actually created a Twitter thread of Filipino romance titles in English that are currently on sale, in case you want to go through the list which already has links to the Amazon page of each book:

Some of them aren’t 0.99usd anymore but still pretty affordable! Some will be on promo price until the end of the month. I’ve been adding titles to the thread as their prices drop, and I’ve also been one clicking like crazy and stocking up on books that have been on my wishlist. 😛

Have you read any romances by Filipino authors? Let me know what you thought of them. If you’re familiar with romanceclass and have read books from the community, please feel free to share your own favorites and recommendations in the comments section. 🙂


Cebu: Vacation and #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy

Hello, WordPress followers! If you also follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Litsy, then you would know that I was on vacation on Cebu for a few days. Cebu is one of the provinces in the Visayas region in the Philippines, and I went to Moalboal and Cebu City. It was my first time in Cebu and I had a great time! Also realized that the last time I traveled on a domestic flight was in 2011 when I went to Bohol. I’m hoping to be able to do more local travel in the near future. While I was in Cebu, I was able to do some #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy posts so I’m including those in this update.

In Moalboal, we stayed at the gorgeous Hale Manna resort, which is owned by Liana’s family. Liana blogs at Will Read for Feels and I met her through the circle of romance readers in the Philippines. It never ceases to amaze me at how I keep meeting awesome bookish people, both online and in real life. I was able to meet with Liana while in Cebu, first at Moalboal and then we traveled together back to Cebu City. Here are some pictures of Hale Manna in Moalboal, swipe left to see all of them:

In Cebu City, first stop was Liana’s book cafe called Books and Brews. I love book cafes and if I lived in Cebu, I would definitely be a regular in this one. The cafe has an extensive selection of books written by Filipino and foreign authors which you can read while hanging out at the place. It’s also cozy and comfortable and a good place to study or work in, if you would prefer not to read.

When I was researching on what places I’d like to visit in Cebu, I knew I would want to check out ancestral houses if there were any in the area. We got to visit two of them: Casa Gorordo and Yap-Sandiego House. I’m a sucker for historic places and these two were a pleasure to view. They’re both typical “balay na tisa” or “bahay na bato”, built in the 1800’s with a mix of Spanish, Chinese and Filipino influences.

We also got to see Museo Sugbo, which is Cebu’s provincial museum. It was previously a provincial jail but has been converted to showcase the history of the province.

Last, but certainly not the least was getting to try the food options in Cebu that aren’t available in Manila! I loved both The Chocolate Chamber and AA Barbecue, and I’m sure you’ll be able to tell why based on these pictures:

I hope you guys enjoyed this update post. I had an amazing time in Cebu but it’s always good to be home in Manila. 🙂 If you’ve been to Cebu, please feel free to share your own experience. Also, would be happy to hear suggestions on what ancestral houses in the country should be included in my bucket list. For those who haven’t been to Cebu, I hope I’ve made you more curious about the province, and that you’ll get to visit it eventually.


#BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy – Week 1 Round Up

It’s been more than a week since #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy started! Find out more about the event here, and as mentioned earlier, I hope you guys take this chance to read books written by Filipino authors. Since I’m a supporter of romanceclass authors (Indie pubbed Filipino romance written in English), I made a thread on Twitter of books that are currently on sale for just 0.99usd. Go and browse through the list of more than 20 titles. More will be added in the coming days.

Look at that, I finally figured out how to center align an embedded tweet on WordPress, yay! Okay, moving on to the topic on hand… I wanted to do a round up of the posts I’ve made on Instagram so far. I wasn’t able to do posts on a daily basis, I missed a few days but hoping to do more in the coming weeks! Let’s see how it goes.




#BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy: I had lunch with Honey and Tarie earlier today, two out of the three ladies behind the @lovethemidlist account. They pair midlist book recommendations with skincare products they love. So my post today was inspired by what they do. Cover Story Girl by @islandstorygirl is a fun beach romance set in Boracay Island, with a Filipino hero and a Korean heroine. Full disclosure, Chris Mariano is a good friend so I may be biased but I'm a fan of her writing. Skincare-wise, I absolutely love @vanderohe's no. 1 face serum: a blend of rosehip, grapeseed, apricot kernel carrier oils plus 8 essential oils. It's organic, smells amazing, feels awesome on my skin and has helped my face become smoother and clearer. One stop skincare solution in a bottle!

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If you’re interested in featuring or reading Filipino books, there’s still lots of time for you to join #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy. What books written by Filipino authors are in your TBR pile?