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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Book Thingo Podcast: Filthy Things with Me, Kat, Mina and Gio

A few months ago, I blogged about my good friend Kat of Book Thingo visiting Manila and recording a series of romanceclass podcast episodes. All of them have gone live, and the last episode includes me, Kat, author and romanceclass founder Mina V. Esguerra and actor Gio Gahol. We talked about the history of the romanceclass live readings, where actors read excerpts of books in front of authors and readers. It’s funny because what I remember the most about recording this podcast was we had a nice discussion and there was a lot of laughter. But listening to it again was a pleasant surprise because wow, we were able to go into a lot of depth not just about the history of the live readings but also some of the issues that romanceclass faces in the Philippines. Such as empowering female authors and readers by focusing on contemporary romance as a genre, these books reflecting our reality in the Philippines, as well as deeply ingrained colonial mentality and how it affects perception of the books. I hope you guys enjoy listening to it as much as we had fun recording it! As always, would love to hear what you guys think if you do manage to listen to this episode.

Click on the embedded audio file below to listen to the podcast, or on the image to get redirected to the Book Thingo site:
Book Thingo Podcast

I did live tweets while listening to the podcast, check out this thread:

Pictures from that day, swipe left to see everything:

Catch up on the previous romanceclass podcast episodes, sharing the links to the Book Thingo blog posts below:
BT047. Jay E. Tria, Six de los Reyes and Mina V. Esguerra: #romanceclassFLAIR
BT046. Chachic and April: 100% no cheating
BT045. #romanceclass actors: Makes your heart race

Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings

Top Ten Tuesday2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish. Hello from Manila! Where the weather is rainy but pleasantly cool for a tropical country. The Christmas-related gatherings have already started in this part of the world, and I can’t wait to catch up with more family and friends. A preference that would surprise no one is that I would love to received books as gifts – even ebooks! 🙂 Actually, Kindle editions are better for me nowadays. I rarely receive books though, because I think most friends are not sure what are the titles that I have and don’t have yet. So it’s fun to make a Christmas wishlist so I can just share it on the off-chance that someone asks. Without further ado, here are the books that I would be delighted to receive for Christmas:

Queen's Game Submission Moves - ebook Don't Tell My Mother Sounds Like Summer Take the Lead

Hate to Want You Beginner's Luck An Enchantment of Ravens The Last Namsara Forest of a Thousand Lanterns

Four romanceclass titles, three contemporary romance books, and three fantasy new releases. These are basically the books that are at the top of my wishlist. I should also mention that I’d be happy to accept Amazon gift cards if that makes things easier for the gift giver LOL. What about you, what books would you like to receive this Christmas? 🙂

Cover Reveal: Start Here, a romanceclass anthology

I’m so excited to share the print and ebook covers for an upcoming romanceclass anthology: Start Here, Short Stories of First Encounters! This LGBT-themed anthology has 10 short stories from various romanceclass authors, and was edited by Ronald S. Lim and Brigitte Bautista. It will be released some time in 2018, and I really can’t wait to read it. The book covers were designed by Dani Hernandez, featuring cover models Migs Almendras and Fred Lo, and (real life couple!) Rachel Coates and Sam Aquino.

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Start Here: A #romanceclass anthology
Edited by Ronald S. Lim and Brigitte Bautista
Release date: 2018

Sign up for updates here.

Start Here - print

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.

Featuring stories by Agay Llanera, Bobbi Moran, Motzie Dapul, Danice Sison, Barbie Barbieto, H. Bentham, Ella Banta, Yeyet Soriano, Katt Briones, Brigitte Bautista

This anthology contains M/M, F/F, F/NB romance stories with happy endings. Some stories have a high heat level.

Start Here - ebook

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What do you guys think of these covers? I like how bright and colorful the rainbow design of the print cover is, and how fitting it is for the theme of the anthology… but I love the ebook edition A BIT MORE because it features cover models. A few months ago, I blogged about the cover shoot for this cover. Linking the behind-the-scenes shots I have here again, in case you guys want to check them out – swipe left to see all the Instagram shots and click on the embedded tweet to see the whole Twitter thread:

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Book Thingo Podcast: Chachic and April

Kat, April and I for the podcast - August 2017

Kat, April and I right before we started recording

A few weeks ago, I shared the link to my good friend Kat’s podcast featuring romanceclass actors and live readers. This week’s Book Thingo podcast episode features me and another friend, April (Twitter, Instagram, Blog). Kat, April and I are partners in #romancelandian, which is a play on Romanlandia: “landian” in Filipino means flirting. I’m so glad we got to record this podcast when Kat was in Manila! It’s actually an impromptu discussion, we were just able to squeeze it in after the podcast recording with the live readers.

Book Thingo Podcast - behind the scenes August 2017

April, Me and Mina while Kat recorded the podcast with the live readers

Click on the embedded audio file below to listen to the podcast, or on the image to get redirected to the Book Thingo site:
Book Thingo Podcast

Please let me know what you think if you’ve listened to it! I know some of you don’t like listening to podcasts, but there’s no available transcript for this. As a summary, we talked about how we were introduced to romance, what were our gateway titles, and what are our deal breakers. A bit more info from my end… I mentioned that I started reading romance in my teens, first with Sweet Valley titles then with Bantam’s Love Stories series, two of my favorites from that series were I Do and At First Sight by Elizabeth Chandler. Then I moved on to my mom’s Harlequins and Mills and Boon pocketbooks, having nothing else to read during summer vacation because I didn’t have access to good public libraries. Before #romanceclass started, Summit Books were my go-to when it came to Filipino romances. And of course, we also talked about Mina V. Esguerra’s Fairy Tale Fail (my review) as our introduction to romanceclass books. It will always have a special place in my heart because I felt like the story was a slice out of my life, like that kind of romance could have happened to me or one of my friends.

Some of my favorite romance authors that I mentioned were Ilona Andrews, Julie James, Laura Florand and Lucy Parker. I feel like they all have their own unique way of writing and no one writes like they do. I love how Kat said that she owes me for introducing her to Ilona Andrews. I got her started on their writing by sending her a gift of Burn for Me and now she’s a fan. I love it when friends fall in love with the same books that I also love.

That’s it! I really enjoyed this discussion and I hope you did too (if you listened to it). Tune in for more Book Thingo podcasts that were recorded in Manila. They will be going live in the coming weeks.

Book Thingo podcast - group pic August 2017

Kat, April and I. Together with Mina, Six and Jay (guests for the next podcast episode)

romanceclassFLAIR Title Reveal: You Out of Nowhere by Jay E. Tria

A few days ago, I posted an introduction about FLAIR or #romanceclassFLAIR and now I’m thrilled to share more information about the first ever title from this project: You Out of Nowhere by Jay E. Tria! Cover and synopsis details below. Cover models are theater actors Bibo Reyes and Celine Bengzon, styling by Alex Lapa, photography by Chi Yu Rodriguez, cover design by Miles Tan.

I’m so excited for this title to be released out in the wild! Manila setting, train meet cute, age gap romance where the heroine is older, one night that can change everything, unexpected travel buddies, and lots of heat. What more can you ask for?

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You Out of Nowhere
by Jay E. Tria
FLAIR #1
Release Date: November 4, 2017

FLAIR You Out of Nowhere

At 31, Kris’s dating life is starting to resemble a reality show. So when she strikes up a conversation with a nerdy but gorgeous stranger on the train, getting serious is the last thing on her mind. Been there, done that, and she has the emotional baggage to prove it.

At 24, Ringo knows what he wants—and when a train flirtation turns into a night he can’t forget, he knows he wants Kris. But it’s clear she has other plans, and they don’t include him. So when they find themselves on the same flight to Seoul, it’s Ringo’s chance to turn up the heat, and convince Kris to take a risk.

In a new city, with someone new — the right someone — what could change? Maybe nothing. But also, maybe everything.

Join the You Out of Nowhere blog tour from November 13-17! Sign up HERE.

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About FLAIR

romanceclassFlairFLAIR (or #romanceclassFlair) is a new, ongoing project and it’ll bring you 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. What can you expect from Flair? HEAs, Filipino characters, fresh telling of familiar tropes, lots of heat.

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. Follow Romanceclass Books on FB, romanceclassbooks on IG, and #romanceclass on Twitter to get the updates!

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About the Author

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

Feels Fest 2017: a romanceclass event

FeelsFest

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.👌

A post shared by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

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 flew 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

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!

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