Introducing romanceclassFlair

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.

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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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ˜› 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. πŸ™‚ To those joining the FeelsFest 2017 event tomorrow, see you soon!

Cover Reveal: Making it Complicated by Clarisse David

Today, I’m participating in the cover reveal for Making it Complicated by Filipino author Clarisse David. This cover reveal was organized by Lola’s Blog Tours, and the cover was designed by Daniel Tinagan. This is the second book in the I Heart Iloilo series, which are standalone romances set in the province of Iloilo in the Philippines. The first book in the series, Keeping the Distance, is on promo for only 0.99usd for a few days. I haven’t read Keeping the Distance yet but I keep hearing good things about it! I already have a copy of the book in my Kindle and I look forward to reading it soon.

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Making it Complicated (I Heart Iloilo #2)
By Clarisse David
Genre: Romance
Age category: Young Adult, New Adult
Release Date: October 16, 2017

Making It Complicated (I Heart Iloilo 2) by Clarisse David Cover Ebook

No promises. No expectations. Just one night on a paradise island that could mean everything.

Nineteen-year-old Cam has a metric ton of emotional baggage and is in no mood to unload them on anyone. After her parents’ marriage imploded, stress-free is the only way she wants her life to be. And what could be more freeing than spending the summer on Boracay? Absolutely nothing… until she bumps heads with Hunter, the hot drummer who screams incoming heartbreak from a mile away.

Hunter has grand plans, none of which include angry-at-the-world Cam, best friend to the girl he always thought he’d end up with. He likes his life steady, thank you very much. But steady has now become synonymous with boring. His grand plans don’t seem so grand anymore. So when Cam comes home to Iloilo City and reaches out to him, he surprises himself when the one answer he can think of is… yes. Definitely yes.

Sometimes, complications are the only things that make sense.

You can find Making it Complicated on Goodreads.

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About the Author:
Clarisse David is a Young Adult and New Adult author from the land of epic heat waves a.k.a. the Philippines. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Literature and cannot survive without red lipstick and books. When not hanging out on Twitter, she can be found working on her latest writing project.

You can find her on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook. You can also send her an email at clarissedavidwrites[@]yahoo[.]com.

You can find and contact Clarisse here:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Instagram
Pinterest
Newsletter

Giveaway
There is a cover reveal wide giveaway for the cover reveal of Making it Complicated. Five winners will each win an ebook of Making it Complicated by Clarisse David. Open internationally. For a chance to win, enter the giveaway here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cover Reveal: Like Nobody’s Watching by Tara Frejas

Like Nobody’s Watching by Tara Frejas is an upcoming Filipino romance written in English, and the companion novel to Waiting in the Wings (learn more about that particular book here). I believe it can stand well enough on its own, but I plan to read Waiting in the Wings first to avoid any confusion. While I haven’t read any of Tara’s books, I have most (if not all) of them in my Kindle! Sigh, I have no idea when I’ll be able to conquer my ever expanding TBR pile but for today, I’m happy to be a part of the cover reveal for Like Nobody’s Watching. This book cover was designed by Filipino author and graphic artist Miles Tan, just like the cover for Ghost of a Feeling that I shared a few days ago. As always, Miles did a wonderful job with the cover design! The cover features Filipino theater actor Fred Lo as the model. Isn’t it awesome that a Filipino romance novel with a theater actor hero has an actual theater actor on the cover? πŸ˜€ Looking forward to reading this one!

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Like Nobody’s Watching
by Tara Frejas

Release date: October 24, 2017

It’s all fun and games until someone catches feelings.

If there’s something Pio Alvez is good at, it’s pretending to be someone he’s not. On stage and on-screen, the actor has mastered the art of becoming the characters he plays, and his new role should be no different. After all, how difficult would it be to pretend to be smitten with a beautiful, intelligent go-getter like Audrey Alonzo?

Perhaps it’s more difficult pretending not to be.

Add Like Nobody’s Watching on Goodreads
Pre-order Like Nobody’s Watching on Amazon

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

Cover Reveal: Ghost of a Feeling by Celestine Trinidad

Ghost of a Feeling by Celestine Trinidad is an upcoming Filipino-romance-in-English that I’m very much looking forward to. I believe this is the first standalone novella by Celestine (nicknamed Leslie). I haven’t read anything of Leslie’s yet but I do have some of her short stories that are part of anthologies I own. Interesting tidbit of information, Leslie is actually a high school batchmate of mine but we didn’t really interact back then. Glad to have reconnected with her online due to our mutual love for fiction. πŸ™‚

Today, we get to see the gorgeous cover for Ghost of a Feeling designed by the talented Miles Tan. September is the National Month of Suicide Prevention and since suicide is a theme of the book, it seems fitting to have the cover reveal before the month is over. I’m intrigued by the premise and I also think the book cover is so pretty! I love the starry night sky background and even the colors and textures included in the design. The silhouette of the characters, with the guy reaching a hand out to the girl seems very fitting for the story. Definitely looking forward to finding out more about this.

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Ghost of a Feeling
by Celestine Trinidad

Release date: October 31, 2017

Ghost of a Feeling

All Cris Villareal had ever dreamed of was becoming a doctor. But after the death of a patient under her care and the subsequent humiliation she suffers under a senior resident in her hospital, she begins to lose faith in herself. And no one else could understand her and her despair.

So one Halloween night, up on the rooftop of her apartment building, she decides to end it all.

She is stopped from jumping by Emilio, the ghost of a young man who haunts her building, who also committed suicide there many years ago. Eventually, Cris finds herself opening up to him, in a way she had never before, with anyone living or dead.

There is only one problem.

Emilio isn’t really a ghost.

He is actually a living young man named Nathan Morales, and Cris was just one of the unwitting victims in a prank he had once played on the tenants of her apartment. But being Emilio was the only way he could think of to stop her that night, and the only way now he could get her to open up to him. As Emilio, he was someone she could trust enough to help her, in a way Nathan himself never could.

As their relationship grows deeper and their feelings grow stronger each day, can he finally help her find a reason to keep living?

But how long can he keep lying to her?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Celestine Trinidad is a physician (particularly, a pathologist) by profession. In her spare time, she writes fiction of several genres, including romance, speculative fiction, crime fiction, and children’s stories. Her other stories have been published in other print and online venues, such as First Love, The Digest of Philippine Genre Stories, Philippine Speculative Fiction, Philippines Free Press, Philippines Graphic, and Insignia.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Reread: Fairy Tale Fail by Mina V. Esguerra

Fairy Tale Fail was the first ever Mina V. Esguerra book that I read way back in 2010! It’s part of her Chic Manila series, which has several standalone titles that are loosely tied together only in the sense that the books are set in Manila and the main characters from each book know each other in some way. A new edition of this book has been released with a cover featuring theater actors Gio Gahol and Gab Pangilinan, and a short epilogue. Here’s the cover and synopsis:

Fairy Tale Fail 2017

Ellie Manuel is a hopeless romantic, stuck in a cubicle all day. She’s in her twenties and should be having more fun. But instead of doing what she really wants, like traveling wherever her Philippine passport can take her, she’s hung up on the guy who dumped her for not being β€œambitious enough.” Someone should tell her that there are other cool guys β€” who probably even eat at the same office cafeteria! β€” who would encourage her just to be her fabulous self.

I couldn’t help but reread it when I got my hands on thew edition. I have fond memories of this book and have been recommending it to all my friends, along with the rest of Mina’s books. I’m still waiting for Litsy posts to become embed-able on WordPress so in the meantime, I’ll just copy and paste my Litsy review: I remember when I read this for the first time in 2010, I felt like the story was a slice out of MY real life. Philippine setting (complete with typhoons, bulalo and siomai), Manila corporate work environment. And I was the same age as the characters at that time. Reread it in one sitting today, and it felt like catching up with old friends. The kilig/swoon factor is still there and the new epilogue was a nice bonus.πŸ’–

I did notice that the heat level for Fairy Tale Fail was very low. It’s the same for all of Mina’s earlier books. I guess it was just the expectation and trend at that time for Filipino-romance-in-English to have fade to black love scenes. I’m very happy to report that this isn’t the case nowadays. πŸ™‚ I had fun revisiting Ellie and Lucas, more so because I don’t get to reread old favorites as much as I would want to. Now that the rainy season is here, I want to have bulalo (a Filipino type of broth that has meat and marrow) because it was mentioned in one of the pivotal scenes in the book. I think every Filipino romance should mention at least one Filipino dish that would make readers crave for it.

If you’re ever in mood for Filipino romance, Mina V. Esguerra’s books are always a good place to start. πŸ˜€

#romanceclass Book Cover Photo Shoot

Last July, I was able to join a romanceclass photo shoot for some of the authors’ book covers. I was lucky enough to be a part of it a second time around when another shoot was held last Sunday. romanceclass books are indie pubbed so they rely on stock photos or illustrations for their cover designs. They came up with the brilliant idea to pool resources and co-sponsor photo shoots with Filipino models or theater actors as cover models. Yay, for more Filipinos on book covers! You can learn more about the initiative through this link: romanceclasscovers. Some photos are available for purchase in the catalog.

So the photo shoot last Sunday had four cover models with different sets. They changed into outfits styled by Alex Lapa, who came up with the styles based on character descriptions. The cover models were real life couple Celine Bengzon and Bibo Reyes, as well as Fred Lo and Migs Almendras. This is actually a historic moment for the community because this is the first ever cover shoot for a male/male romance! So exciting. Here are some outtakes from the phone:

Swipe left to see all the photos. I love how these turned out on my phone, and I’m pretty sure the final versions will be even better. I can’t wait to see the resulting book covers! You can see more pictures of the shoot on Veronica’s blog over at Brain Tabs, here and here.

Here are some of my favorite behind the scenes photos from last Sunday, always a good time when you’re with romanceclass people:

romanceclasscovers Sept 2017

romanceclasscovers Sept 2017 v2

romanceclasscovers Sept 2017 v2

romanceclasscovers Sept 2017 v4

romanceclasscovers Sept 2017 v5

Here are photos of authors Mina V. Esguerra and H. Bentham squished between cover models Fred and Migs:

romanceclasscovers Sept 2017 v7

From Mina’s Instagram, here’s a shot of Ben and I being silly while we copy the cover model’s pose for Iris After the Incident:

Meron pala nito @romanceclasscovers #romanceclass

A post shared by Mina V. Esguerra (@minavesguerra) on

Also, a group pic of the romanceclass people present there, together with the cover models:

And last but not the least, here I am with Fred and Migs, first time to have a pic taken with them!

romanceclasscovers Sept 2017 v8

After the photo shoot, four of us had dinner had Manam, a Filipino fusion restaurant that has quickly become a favorite of mine. Here are some pics of the meal we had:

Sunday well-spent, wouldn’t you say? πŸ™‚ Hope you all had an awesome weekend and you’re having a good week so far.

#GoReadWrite2017: Clever Hands Panel

Last Saturday, I attended the Clever Hands Panel of the Philippine Readers and Writers Festival 2017 (#GoReadWrite2017 on social media channels). This was primarily about how to write steamy scenes in romance novels and the panel featured Spark Books and romanceclass authors. Not that I’m planning to write steamy romances anytime soon! I decided to go because I knew it would be a fun gathering with bookish people. Here’s the event poster:

GoReadWrite2017 Clever Hands

And here are my Instagram updates about the event, swipe left to see all the pictures:

As you can see from the pictures and captions above, it was indeed a fun bookish event. πŸ™‚ Worth the effort I made to travel to Makati City, which isn’t exactly the easiest location for me to get to because of how bad traffic in Manila gets. This is also why I was only able to attend this one panel! I wish I planned things better so I could have been there the whole day to attend even more panels and activities. Oh well, I can keep that in mind for next year. In the meantime, there are more upcoming bookish events here in Manila that I’m looking forward to attending before the year ends. I know I keep saying this, but it really is nice to catch up on all of these in-person events that I kept missing while I was in Singapore.

That’s all for now, hope your weekend is off to a good start! πŸ˜€

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 β€œMonth of Filipino Authors” or even β€œMonth 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. πŸ˜€

romanceclass-logo

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. πŸ˜›

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. πŸ™‚

Podcast in the Morning, Book Signing in the Afternoon

Shenanigans from last Saturday were continued on Tuesday when I met up with my friends Kat of Book Thingo and Mina of romanceclass to record another podcast, this time with Filipino theater actor Gio Gahol who was also the first male actor to do the live readings. We got to talk about how the live readings first started as an experiment when Mina asked Gio and Rachel to do it, and how it has exploded into something that has become a favorite activity of romanceclass authors and readers alike. It was an interesting conversation because all of us had different perspectives: Mina and Gio were right there from the start of the live readingers almost two years ago, I had only attended one live reading event (Feels So Hot), while Kat has only been able to watch the videos.

Swipe left to see all the pics! I must say that seeing the live readings in person is definitely SO MUCH BETTER than just watching videos of them, because part of the fun is seeing the reactions of the audience. That’s probably the main reason why I enjoy the live readings, seeing how the audience becomes overwhelmed with the emotions that they’re feeling, which I also think that’s something uniquely Filipino. Even if these live readings were replicated abroad, I don’t think the actors would get quite the same enthusiasm as they do here in the Philippines. And I also think both the readers and the actors feed off each other’s energies, a symbiotic relationship of sorts. πŸ˜€ I also really love how two different local art groups overlap with the live readings: theater and romance books. With the connection with the theater actors, romanceclass community members also attend plays or events that include the romanceclass live readers. And hopefully theater folks are also now more interested in romance because of these events?

I’m going to stop here because I’m doing my best to just write about my own point of view because I don’t want to spoil the podcast for you guys! I witnessed it being recorded but it will still be so much fun to listen to it.

Some behind the scenes fun, care of Mina’s Instagram account:

Me and @chachickenpie during @bookthingo podcast recording. Chachic is making universal sign for "I cannot" #romanceclass

A post shared by Mina V. Esguerra (@minavesguerra) on

After recording the podcast, we headed to UP Town Center where we met up with our friend Honey. We got to drop by the Kevin Kwan book signing! Both Kat and I haven’t read his books but we’re both planning to. Thanks for our copies of Crazy Rich Asians and for hosting us during the signing, Honey! My mom and my aunt are fans of Kevin Kwan’s books and I got him to sign one book each for them. I’m still trying to read more books by Filipino authors for #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy this month so I’ll try to pick up Kevin Kwan’s books after August.

Last but not the least, we had a lovely dinner where we got to catch up on everything related to books and life. I have no pictorial evidence of the dinner we had but here’s coffee and cake instead:

Hope you’re all having a good week so far! In case you missed it, I created a Twitter thread of Filipino romance titles in English that are currently on sale:

Some of them aren’t 0.99usd anymore but still pretty affordable! And I’ve added a few more titles that have gone on sale since I created that thread. I’ve been one clicking like crazy and stocking up on books that have been on my wishlist.