What Kind of Day Guest Post: See This Manila

Very happy to have romanceclass author (and foundress) Mina V. Esguerra on the blog today for a guest post about her latest release: What Kind of Day. I haven’t had a chance to read the book yet but it’s been generating a lot of buzz on my social media timelines. In the book, the heroine takes people on an alternative tour of Metro Manila and Mina shares some of the real-life spots in the metro that inspired some of the locations in her book. Personally, I love the idea of going on a tour in your own city. I feel like there’s always something new that you can discover even if you’ve lived in the same place your whole life. And based on the places Mina highlighted below, I feel like Naya and I can be good friends. 😛

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See This Manila by Mina V. Esguerra

I absolutely love traveling, and tried to do a lot of it even when my salary was tiny and could barely cover the big things you were supposed to pay for as an adult. A habit I picked up during that time was having to DIY my tours. City tours tend to have a specific kind of traveler in mind. They were hit or miss for me…and often I opted out of them. I don’t know if this is a habit formed from having to save up and stay on budget, but I often go to a city just wanting to experience how people did the things I loved to do. Where do they get their books, what do they create here, and what do they eat?

I had all of that in mind when writing my book What Kind of Day. My female main character Naya is a tour guide, but she won’t bring you to the exact same spots you’d get from a conventional tour of Manila. Half of the book is Naya’s tour from start to finish, and I designed a tour that was fictional, but based on actual things you could see and do in the city in one day.

I wanted to mention a few real-life inspirations for the tour stops, or at least in theory, because I don’t want to spoil anything else in the book for you.

Some real-life suggestions for a trip to an art gallery, a kare-kare lunch, a people-watching walk, that may or may not have influenced the settings in the book!

Pinto Art Museum (technically not in Metro Manila, but a must-see)

Bonifacio High Street

If you live in Manila, what do you think should be part of an “alternative” tour of it? What’s your favorite city spot?

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What Kind of DayBook Description:
It’s a bad day for Ben. After years of earnest work, he’s been fired from his job as a speechwriter for a Philippine senator. Name tarnished and bridges burned, he steps into what he thinks is a shuttle ride home, and accidentally joins a tour of his own city.

It was supposed to be a good day for Naya. Her passion is traveling, her hobby is discovering cool things to see and do, and taking people on tours of Metro Manila is her only job right now. An extra person at the last minute isn’t ideal, especially if the person is a former colleague and the subject of the day’s hottest political trash fire. But work is work, and she decides to let him stay in the tour.

She’s hoping she won’t regret it. He’s hoping his day turns around. What kind of day could it be? Maybe the best kind.

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#RomBkLove Day 26: New-To-Me Authors

RomBkLove Day 26 NewToMe

The theme for day 26 of #RomBkLove is New-To-Me Authors. For those who don’t know, #RomBkLove is a month-long celebration of romance books. The event was organized by Ana Coqui of Immersed in Books and you can check out her introduction post here. Various readers and bloggers have hosted each of the daily themes either on Ana’s blog or on their own platform. I have mostly been participating on Twitter, but I know some people have joined the conversation over at Instagram and Facebook. It has been so much fun seeing so many romance recs! I’ve been so tempted to one click a lot of titles.

I’m so excited to kick off today’s discussion about new-to-me authors because discovering new authors to enjoy and fangirl over is one of the reasons why I love being active on romancelandia. How new is new, you might ask? For the purpose of this discussion, let’s set it to authors you’ve discovered and loved in the past year or so. They don’t have to be new releases, just titles that are new to you. To start things off, here are some of the authors and books I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and would highly recommend:

Beginner's Luck Ghost of a Feeling Submission Moves - ebook

Beginner’s Luck by Kate Clayborn – Loved the slow burn romance between the heroine working in STEM and the hero trying to recruit her for his corporate firm. I found it really cute how they slowly got to know each other before acting on their attraction. Also the teasing and banter from friends and family were hilarious.

Ghost of a Feeling by Celestine Trinidad – The couple has such an unusual meet cute when the hero, dressed as a ghost for Halloween, stops the heroine from jumping off the building. Mental health rep! And an interesting look at how difficult it is for the heroine to build a medical career in the Philippines. The author herself is a doctor so everything feels very realistic.

Submission Moves by Camilla Sisco – Such a fun and steamy romance between a feminist heroine and a mixed martial arts hero who have a one night stand in Vegas, then meet a few years later. This is the only title that’s been written by this Filipino author and I keep hoping she’ll write more!

Captive Prince Queen's Game A Princess in Theory

Captive Prince trilogy by C.S. Pacat – I had the worst (or should I say best?) kind of book hangover after finishing this trilogy because it was SO GOOD! I loved this slow burn male/male romance between two princes of rival kingdoms. Enemies to lovers is one of my favorite tropes. So much political intrigue. And such smart writing. Exactly my type of fantasy series. Please feel free to rec anything similar but I think it’s in a class of its own.

The Queen’s Game by Carla de Guzman – The Filipino royal romance that we didn’t know we needed! Partially inspired by one of my dream vacation destinations in the Philippines: Batanes. A quick and sweet read featuring a romance between the prince and princess of neighboring kingdoms. I have expressed my desire for more books in the same setting and Carla has promised (putting it here for accountability) that there will be more.

A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole – Another non-European royal romance that I loved with a STEM heroine who first thinks it’s a joke that she’s betrothed to an African prince. Loved the worldbuilding and the witty banter in this one. Also, that gorgeous cover deserves a shout out! A custom African print dress on the heroine and a matching bowtie on the hero.

Slightly Dangerous Hot in Hellcat Canyon FLAIR You Out of Nowhere

Slightly Dangerous by Mary Balogh – I’m not much of a historical romance reader but this Pride and Prejudice retelling was so much fun to read! I love how the heroine blindsided the hero in this one.

Hot in Hellcat Canyon by Julie Anne Long – Really enjoyed this small town romance between two people who have such a strong connection in spite of the differences in their backgrounds.

You Out of Nowhere by Jay E. Tria – Last but certainly not the least, my introduction to romanceclass author Jay E. Tria’s writing was such a good one! This title has been fondly called tita (auntie) romance because of the older heroine. I was rooting for the couple right from their train meet cute.

These are the romance titles I discovered and enjoyed in the past year or so! I’ve been meaning to read more books from some of these authors, but I haven’t found time for that yet. Writing this post is a good reminder for me to start doing that soon. What about the rest of you, who are new-to-you romance authors you’d highly recommend? 🙂 Hope you folks enjoy participating in today’s #RomBkLove topic!

romanceclass origins: Veronica of Brain Tabs

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. Please help me in welcoming Veron of Brain Tabs as she shares how she first found out about romanceclass! For the first time, someone said they discovered the group because of my recommendation. Isn’t that awesome? 😀

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1) How did you discover romanceclass?

I first discovered Mina V. Esguerra’s books from here at Chachic’s Book Nook! Chachic reviewed Fairy Tale Fail and upon reading that book, I became a fan of Mina V. Esguerra’s books. I subscribed to her newsletter and got notified of sign-ups for book promos, writing classes, and author events, among many other things. I joined the #SparkNA writing class in 2015 to accompany my friend, Clare Elisabeth Marquez. It was from there that we got wind of April Feels Day. Clare and I attended that event and I was overwhelmed (in a good way) of how so many people are passionate about the community – which is romanceclass.

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

Some may find this ironic since I’m a librarian, but while I’ve always loved reading, I’ve never been part of a bookish club. I didn’t even know I needed one, but romanceclass was a gift and it keeps on giving. I’ve started as a reader, then a lurker online, and now I do manuscript editing/proofing for some authors. For many authors, romanceclass encouraged them to make their writing dreams come true. Being an editor/proofreader on my part, enables me to transform a weakness – nitpicking – into a strength. I still am honing the skill of turning negative comments to constructive feedback. I’ve also been told many times before that I am too feminist for my own good. I found like-minded and strong-willed women in this community though, which made me feel that somehow, I belong.

3) What are your recommended romanceclass reads?

Chic Manila Series by Mina V. Esguerra
Feels Like Summer and Beginner’s Guide by Six de los Reyes
Keep The Faith by Ana Tejano
You Out of Nowhere and Songs to Make You Stay by Jay E. Tria
Scandalized and Like Nobody’s Watching by Tara Frejas
Dare To Love and Bucket List To Love by C.P. Santi
If the Dress Fits and The Queen’s Game by Carla De Guzman
Prom Queen Perfect and Keeping the Distance by Clarisse David
Finding X by Miles Tan
All’s Fair in Blog and War by Chrissie Peria
The Real Score by Kesh Tanglao
Chasing Waves by Bianca Mori
Simply Joei by Clare Elisabeth Marquez
Poetry Books by Dawn Lanuza and Layla Tanjutco

My Imaginary Ex - 2017 Fairy Tale Fail 2017 Love Your Frenemies - 2018 edition What You Wanted 2018 Better At Weddings Than You cover

Feels Like Summer Beginner's Guide - Love and Other Chemical Reactions Keep the Faith FLAIR You Out of Nowhere

Like Nobody's Watching Dare to Love Bucket List to Love If the Dress Fits

Queen's Game prom-queen-perfect The Duke Takes a Bride Finding X All's Fair in Blog and War

The Real Score Chasing Waves Simply Joei The Last Time I'll Write About You We Might As Well Be Galaxies
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Hope you enjoyed hearing about Veron’s romanceclass journey. I love how she had tons of book recs for all of us. Incidentally, the romanceclass event Veron mentioned earlier (April Feels Day) will be held this Saturday! Really looking forward to it. Check out the details below. Last I heard all the registration slots have been taken but some slots may free up in the coming days or on the day itself.

April Feels Day 2018

romanceclass origins: Bianca Mori

romanceclass origins

romanceclass is a community of authors and readers who gather together to support indie published contemporary romance written by Filipino authors. Whether they’re a reader or an author, all community members have their romanceclass origin story… various stories of how and when they joined the community. romanceclass origins is a blog feature that highlights these origin stories.

Visit the earlier romanceclass origins posts here. Apologies for the delay in posting today’s romanceclass origins, I haven’t been feeling well the past few days so this took me a while to put up. So before the day ends, please help me welcome author Bianca Mori as she shares her romanceclass journey!

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1) How did you discover romanceclass?

This is a gigantically long story, but okay, let’s do the highlights: I knew Mina V. Esguerra from way back when LiveJournal was THE social media platform. We’d both published chick lit books through mainstream publishers (I under my real name), and I closely followed her indie publishing journey with Fairy Tale Fail.

Cut to: late 2013. While I didn’t join the first romanceclass, Mina helped me with my first independently published title and allowed me to tag along with the official romanceclass blog tour. Because she’s awesome.

A few months later, she told me about doing another romanceclass run, but this time featuring sexier books. At that time, we’d all been doing clean romance and she said she felt that it was time for her, personally, to inject heat into her work, and I was all “I completely agree. Sign me up, sis.” That class was #buqosteamyreads and the novella I submitted eventually became One Night At The Palace Hotel.

[Pen name side note: Mina made us read Tessa Bailey to prep for the class. And I thought, wow, the genre can get this steamy? I’m going to be super explicit! When One Night was done and I read the finished version, I realized, hah, what if my NGO clients and corporate bosses Google my name and this comes up? Bianca Mori and this funny double-but-not-really life was born.]

So that’s how it started. I kept going to the events, even if I had to first prep for them, at home, because I’m naturally shy and I have to practice my small talk. Then I started making friends, who were equally introverted, and now I didn’t feel so weird anymore. Then I wrote more. And fangirled. And planned things. And sometimes just showed up, because it’s an awesome community with this amazing energy that never fails to make me feel creative and fulfilled, especially when my day job can sometimes be like swimming frantically with my head barely above water.

Actual proms weren't this fun #FeelsSoProm

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

The romanceclass community is built around supporting each other. That’s rare. I’d been in a few writers’ groups and found that they were almost always built around critique. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but too often, it turns into gatekeeping. Discussions become about exclusion, and then it becomes about snark. It’s exhausting, and it’s premised on making art conform, instead of letting it evolve.

But romance is constantly evolving, and so is #romanceclass. People feel like writing about a certain topic and we all cheer each other on, and at first it doesn’t feel extraordinary until you view what we come up with through the eyes of readers who are looking for more. We’re doing STEM, queer, age difference, single parents, #ownvoices and more. None of these would be possible if the community weren’t so supportive.

And it’s just so dang fun. #romanceclass energy is positive and bright and maybe if I could see auras, our gatherings would be surrounded by an amazing unicorn glow — because it feels that way. It feels special, rare, precious and sparkly, with shiny silky rainbow hair.

Sulit my 3 hour drive!! #feelsfest2017 ❤

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3) What are your recommended romanceclass reads?

Love Your Frenemies – Mina V. Esguerra, because Kimmy Domingo is the OG hard-to-love-but-kicks-ass-anyway heroine and I heart her. (And because Mina is so prolific, I also highly recommend the Scambitious series (con artists!), The Future Chosen (brilliant kids in an anti-political-dynasty NotPhilippines) and What You Wanted (one night stand with two lovably screwed up characters.))

Another Word for Happy – Agay Llanera, and anything Agay writes, basically, because her work overflows with heart and makes me cry.

You Out Of Nowhere – Jay E. Tria, because Jay is another master wordsmith and this sexy tale had me from the first pages of its MRT meet cute (it could happen!)

The Duke Takes A Bride – Suzette de Borja, because aristocratic sexytimes and a goldfish that is black.

If The Dress Fits – Carla de Guzman, for realistic body positivity and a romance that will make you ache.

Loveless, Childless, Clueless – Miren B. Flores, with a knowing toast from all ladies in the northern end of thirty.

Love Your Frenemies - 2018 edition Young and Scambitious The Future Chosen What You Wanted 2018

Another Word for Happy FLAIR You Out of Nowhere The Duke Takes a Bride If the Dress Fits Loveless Childless Clueless

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Bianca Mori

Bianca Mori writes contemporary romances, romantic suspense and crime fiction set in the Philippines, Asia, Europe, the United States and all points in between. Her steamy stories have been called “fast-paced and super-hot,” “engaging,” “vivid” and “engrossing.” She lives in Manila with her family and a hyperactive pug. Find Bianca on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as @thebiancamori or at her website http://www.biancamori.com

Chasing Mindy Guest Post: Paris Travel Diary

Last week, author Carla de Guzman shared her romanceclass origins and today, she’s here on the blog to share the location inspiration for her latest title Chasing Mindy. Paris is a city that’s close to my own heart and I love that Carla chose to set her book there. Check out what she has to say about this glorious city in relation to her book!

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Paris Travel Diary by Carla de Guzman

One of my favorite things about writing Chasing Mindy was being able to re-write my experience of Paris. It’s one of those places that you never, ever, ever think you’ll be able to visit. You dream about it and hear about it, but you can’t really picture yourself there until you’re actually there. Mindy’s awe over the things she saw was very much my own.

Honestly guys, this city though. It’s so pretty you want to hug it.

For my little stint here on Chachic’s Book Nook, I’m sharing my photos and a little travel diary of the places Mindy and Javier visited!

Chasing Mindy - Rue de Depart

Rue de Depart
Mindy’s first scene ever in Paris is here–on a street corner, looking at the golden light and cursing the city for being just so gosh darn perfect. And how could she not, if she was looking at this? This is the corner not too far from our hotel in Montparnasse. It’s my phone’s wallpaper!

Chasing Mindy - Metro

Paris Metro
Call me a nerd, but I like the Paris Metro stations–they’re all so different, and how fancy is it that the ads have a pretty sienna tile surrounding it? It even has Napoleon’s crest on top of each one.

Chasing Mindy - Shakespeare and Co

Shakespeare and Co.
You see this a lot in pictures, and I never realized it was just across the Notre Dame until someone pointed it out like, oh no big deal, there it is! The inside is crammed with books to browse, and there was a bunch of lavender growing in front of the store so it smelled so nice. I realized later on that there are lots of Shakespeare and Co. bookstores in Europe, but there’s just something special about that green awning!

Chasing Mindy - Square Rene Vivani

Square Rene Vivani
Javi makes Mindy frog march over to the park next to Shakespeare and Co where they sit and have their coffee. Look at that view of the Notre Dame! With the rose arch and everything. There were quite a few painters taking a rest there, and couples falling asleep on the benches–which is totally normal. This place had to appear in the book, just because of the roses!

Chasing Mindy - Saint Chapelle

Saint Chapelle
This church! You don’t run out of churches in Paris, but this one is lovely! I experienced it exactly the same way Mindy did, where she runs up the smallest staircase, thinking that this was a scam, (and we had to line up for an hour!) only to find this gorgeous illusion of light on top. I believe I used the words ‘HOLY CRAP’ in my travel diary at the time.

Chasing Mindy - Giverny

Giverny
When I visited Paris for the first time, I became a little obsessed with the Impressionists. I looked up their works and read up on their history, which is why I knew that the next time we went to Paris, I had to make sure we went to Monet’s home in Giverny. Imagine a garden of flowers and multiply it by like, a thousand. I could barely breathe I was so happy.

Chasing Mindy - Olympia

Olympia by Manet
Sorry for the sudden nudity, but this girl is my goddess, okay. Manet painted one of his favorite muses totally naked. I could go into detail of why he painted it and why this painting was one of the most controversial of his time (someone stop me!), but I settled for putting it in the book, for now.

Chasing Mindy - Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower
An excerpt from my travel diary, ‘Damn it, Eiffel Tower, I thought I was over you!’ The perfect last thing to do in Paris is to buy some food, sit in the Trocadero Garden and wait for the tower to light up. You half-expect there to be music. Look at it. So pretty.

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Chasing MindyBook Description:
Mindy and Javier are not friends, okay.

Despite their mothers’ matchmaking, they’ve managed to stay out of each other’s way. Until Mindy goes to Paris for a week, and her mother insists she meet up with Javier. He’s in Paris to study, really looking forward to see you, she says. Watch over each other.

No thanks. Javier is taciturn and boring, Mindy is dramatic and has a tendency to yell at things when her eight siblings are brought up. It’s not a great combination.

But things start to look a little different under the Paris lights, and what felt like hate feels a lot closer to love.

romanceclass origins: Carla de Guzman

romanceclass origins

romanceclass is a community of authors and readers who gather together to support indie published contemporary romance written by Filipino authors. Whether they’re a reader or an author, all community members have their romanceclass origin story… various stories of how and when they joined the community. romanceclass origins is a blog feature that highlights these origin stories.

Visit the earlier romanceclass origins posts here. Today, prolific author Carla de Guzman is here to talk about how she first started attending romanceclass events with siblings in tow. Please give Carla a warm welcome!

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1) How did you discover romanceclass?

In the summer of 2015, I wrote a book. Oh man, I thought I was so amazing. It was a book about different cities and different universes, and I didn’t know it at the time, but it was not romance. After I finished it, I thought I would find someone who might want to publish it. But there’s nothing more painful than being told “why don’t you publish your book on Wattpad first and gain a couple of thousand readers before we publish it?” Ouch.

While desperately Googling and querying, I stumbled upon Alyssa Urbano, who was my batchmate in school. I saw she was self-published and asked her about it. She told me about Bronze Age Media and encouraged me to get in touch. Tania Arpa talked to me first. Looking back I was very, very persistent, haha. After they agreed to help me publish Cities, Tania and I worked together on the cover. Layla Tanjutco finished the first book of mine she would edit. Liana Smith Bautista would later organize the blog tour. Then Mina V. Esguerra and I met in Coffee Bean in Greenhills. She showed me how Amazon worked. I remember she said, “Congratulations, you’re a published author now!” So surreal.

The next thing I knew, I was being added to this group on Facebook called romanceclass, and we were being invited to attend this ‘secret thing’ at The Study in Podium. Me being a very awkward turtle, I brought along my sister (I would bring siblings for at least the next two live readings) and we heard the very first live readings by Gio Gahol and Rachel Coates. I didn’t know anybody, and barely spoke to anyone. Up until April Feels Day 2016, I still had a sibling around! Apparently being in a small space with sweaty people buying each others books makes for great bonding.

Then there was workshop season, where I joined #SparkNA, #StrangeLit, #romanceclass2016 where I wrote If The Dress Fits and #romanceclasss2017 where I wrote Making A Scene. Whirlwind years, my friends.

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

When I first joined, I wasn’t sure what it was supposed to mean for me. At the time it was just a group of people, recommending books, talking about handsome guys.

But later on, romanceclass became a safe space. I can say “hey, that guy looks really really cute!” and not have anyone look at me oddly, in fact they would even nod and agree! That was so new to me. I could write smut and ask questions I could never ask anyone. I could say “hey, this book has a hot and grumpy British actor and maybe I’ll like it” and people will actually encourage that. I can say that I want to write a book about a plus size girl falling in love with this tall, cute boy and they’ll actually say “why not?” instead of “why?” You say you’re a writer and people look at you funny still.

Suddenly, here are all these people who just know things. Like how fun it is to watch a good musical when you’re with friends, what it feels to drown in feelings and what it feels like to suddenly find a community. Suddenly, I have… people. I never thought I would have people.

3) What are your recommended romanceclass reads?

WHY YOU ASK THIS? It’s hard to choose books because I love them all and in very different ways.

I think everyone should read Tara Frejas’ Waiting in the Wings and Like Nobody’s Watching because she writes with her heart on the page, and we all need that. I like soft boys and tough girls, which is why I would recommend Jay’s Songs To Get Over You. If you want to read Mina V. Esguerra’s books, start with No Strings Attached and That Kind of Guy.

And then I would hop on over to Bucket List to Love by CP Santi, Cover Story Girl by Chris Mariano and The Kitchen When It Sizzles by Chrissie Peria. And of course Feels Like Summer by Six de los Reyes for the lightsabers. And then you jump into One Night at the Palace Hotel by Bianca Mori, Submission Moves by Camilla Sisco are SUPER HOT. Ana Tejano’s Keep The Faith is fun and easy to read, and I round it all up with Choco Chip Hips by Agay Llanera because of the tears and the cookies.

I could recommend more, I could talk about these books all day.

Waiting in the Wings Like Nobody's Watching No Strings Attached_New Cover That Kind of Guy 2017

Bucket List to Love Cover Story Girl The Kitchen When It Sizzles - indie Feels Like Summer

One Night at the Palace Hotel Submission Moves - ebook Keep the Faith Choco Chip Hips

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Carla de Guzman

If you ask Carla what she does for a living, she will tell you that she’s not quite sure.

By day, she works a regular day job and writes for a lifestyle website. By night, she’s an author and an artist, spending her midnights at her desk and making these silly love stories. She loves to travel, coming home to her dog Kimchi and spending her weekends having dinner with her crazy family.

She’s currently on a quest to see as many Impressionist paintings as she can, and is always in search of the perfect pain au chocolat.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads

Giveaway on Instagram

I’m hosting a giveaway for Palaso by Marianie and You Out of Nowhere by Jay E. Tria on my bookstagram account. Go and check it out if you’re interested!

GIVEAWAY CLOSED! Winner has been announced. Philippines only, sorry international folks. I recently reached 1k in terms of number of followers here on bookstagram so as a way to thank all of you, here's a giveaway for two titles I've read: Palaso comics by @marianieart and You Out of Nowhere by @jayetria. These are signed copies, both by Filipino authors. I posted about each of these earlier in my feed if you want to browse and learn more about them. To join: • Must be a follower (please don't follow then unfollow because that's rude) • Must be a bookstagram or author account • Must have a delivery address in the Philippines • Leave a comment answering these questions: What's your favorite book by a Filipino author, and why? That's it! One winner will be chosen by April 12. Please feel free to spread the word through Instagram stories or by tagging your friends. This giveaway is in no way affiliated with Instagram. Books were purchased out of pocket. . . . #bookgiveaway #bookstagramPH #booknerdPH #romanceclass #Pinoykomiks #Filipinoauthors #readlocalPH

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romanceclass origins: Tara Frejas

romanceclass origins

romanceclass is a community of authors and readers who gather together to support indie published contemporary romance written by Filipino authors. Whether they’re a reader or an author, all community members have their romanceclass origin story… various stories of how and when they joined the community. romanceclass origins is a blog feature that highlights these origin stories.

Visit the earlier romanceclass origins posts here. This blog feature took a break last week but it’s back today, yay! Author and social media expert Tara Frejas is here to share her romanceclass journey. Take it away, Tara!

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1) How did you discover romanceclass?

In 2014, I passed by a small-ish kiosk of books at EDSA Shangri-La and saw these pretty little books published by Summit. I took a photo of it, posted it on my Instagram, and told myself that I’ll someday get a book published. Minutes after the photo was posted, my high school classmate Jeni posted a comment asking if I was into romance because her cousin (whose book was in the photo) holds writing classes and helps her students publish books.

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

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Her cousin is Mina V. Esguerra.

Now I wasn’t sure yet at the time if I wanted to write romance even if a lot of my online-published stories were love stories. Admittedly, I was one of those people who thought romance could be “elevated” to “something more,” (I know, kill me.) so I didn’t know if I wanted to focus on being a romance writer. Nevertheless, I followed Mina on Wattpad and read her posts about self-publishing and copyright.

Several months passed and I finished a book I really wanted to publish. At about the same time, Mina announced on her Wattpad that she was holding an Author-at-Once seminar in January of 2015 and I just went “to heck with it” and jumped at the opportunity. I published Paper Planes Back Home that year and decided to join Mina’s other projects/workshops afterward, which included Tales from the Metro, #SparkNA, and #StrangeLit.

I remember feeling so intimidated by the “first generation” #romanceclass authors at the first #SparkNA F2F. I remember seeing Chris Mariano show everyone a copy of Cover (Story) Girl and thinking “Wow, that’s really pretty” and “Sana ako rin.” I remember my very first #romanceclass event at Enderun, where I felt extremely out of place because people actually knew each other (I had friends who joined the #SparkNA F2F so it wasn’t that awkward) and well… I was an awkward potato who Mina invited because someone from Rak of Aegis was supposedly gonna be a “guest.”

Haha.

So, yeah…from that very first workshop with Mina, I was hooked. And the more I learned about the community (online and otherwise), the more I grew fond of the people and the things we continue to create. I guess it’s safe to say I’m here for the long haul!

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

I’ve always said that #romanceclass is my happy place, but saying that is like showing you Disneyland from an aerial view. It’s pretty and colorful and fun, but once you’re on the ground, you’ll see that there’s a lot of different things going on.

First and foremost, being in #romanceclass means getting second chances. After college, I really wanted to write for TV or movies, but that wasn’t an easy path to take. I realized I didn’t have the stomach for that industry and I gave that dream up because I had to be practical. So for several years it was pretty much just work work work for me, until the Internet made it possible and easy to share stories to the world again. But I knew nothing about self-publishing and I thought the only way to be considered a “legit” author was to be traditionally published. I was so, so wrong… and I was so, so glad I stumbled upon #romanceclass when I did. The timing was just perfect.

Second, I know a lot of people don’t like high school, but being in #romanceclass feels just like high school. Without the drama and awkwardness, that is. Because everyone’s the cool kid, the jock, the overachiever, the cheerleader, the dreamer. A bunch of people organize fun events that people go to to have fun! We learn new stuff every day, we get to say what’s on our minds, we get to stand up for what we believe in. We meet cute people, talk about love and crushes and abs. We assign code names, have our own language, and giggle all the time. We’re like a huge, clingy high school barkada, and I love it.

Finally, being in #romanceclass means (and I will borrow this from Jay) finding your people. There’s really nothing more comforting than the knowledge that there are other people out there who understand you and accept you, quirks and all. I believe I’ve found my people in #romanceclass, and I hope more people do too.

3) What are your recommended romanceclass reads?
Why must you hurt me this way? *sobs into a tissue*

Ah well, okay. I guess this is inevitable, so… in no particular order, here are SOME recommended #romanceclass reads:

Choco Chip Hips by Agay Llanera
The Playlist Series by Jay E. Tria
The Future Chosen by Mina V. Esguerra
Dare to Love by C.P. Santi
Feels Like Summer by Six de los Reyes
Ghost of a Feeling by Celestine Trinidad
Fall Like Rain by Ana Tejano
Loveless. Childless. Clueless. by Miren B. Flores (I know, I know. Just.)
If the Dress Fits by Carla de Guzman
Only a Kiss by Ines Bautista-Yao

Choco Chip Hips Songs of Our Breakup The Future Chosen Dare to Love Feels Like Summer

Ghost of a Feeling Fall Like Rain Loveless Childless Clueless If the Dress Fits Only a Kiss

Whew. That wasn’t so bad. 😛 Thanks for having me, Chachic! ❤

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Tara Frejas is a cloud-walker who needs caffeine to fuel her travels. When she’s not on work mode, she keeps herself busy by weaving her daydreams into stories.

Aside from her obvious love affair with words and persistent muses, Tara is very passionate about being caffeinated, musical theatre, certain genres of music, dancing, dogs, good food, and romancing Norae, her ukelele. She owns a male bunny named Max who sometimes tries to nibble on her writing notes.

Fun fact: She’s a Piscean. Go figure.

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March Bookstagram Reviews

Here’s a round up of bookstagram reviews I did for March. You can see my round up posts from previous months here: January and February.

The Queen’s Game by Carla de Guzman

The Queen's Game by Carla de Guzman is a #romanceclass title set in the fictional kingdoms of Cincamarre and Concordia, located north of the Philippines. They're based on Batanes, a province that has long been in my list of aspirational travel destinations. I hear it's gorgeous, and the descriptions in this book strengthens that knowledge. I can't say that I'm a big royal romance reader but I was fascinated by the idea that hey, we can have one set here! This was such a fun and cute romance with a feisty heroine and a soft boy of a hero. I wanted it to be longer, probably because the fantasy reader in me wants Cincamarre and Concordia to be explored further. But I'd be happy to read companion novels set in the same world. Please write more, @carlakdeguzman! If she releases more titles, you first heard the request here. Recommended for readers of royal romance, especially the ones who have loved A Princess in Theory by @alyssacolelit (*whispers* Alyssa herself recommends this title). . . . 📸 @milestan.author #TheQueensGame #CarladeGuzman #Filipinoauthor #Filipinobooks #readlocalPH #diverseromance #royalromance #romancereads #Kindlebooks #IGreads #readersofIG #instabooks #bookstagram #bookstagramPH

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Palaso by Marianie

Palaso by Marianie is a standalone Filipino comics about Dark Cupid, the being in charge of pulling out the arrows from individuals who were mistakenly shot by Cupid (they fall in love but it doesn't work out). With one catch, they have to be ready to move on before he can pull out an arrow. . . This was such an interesting concept and premise for me! But given the nature of Dark Cupid's work, the whole story had a bittersweet tone to it. As we say in Filipino, hugot kung hugot. I know a lot of readers will be able to relate but I didn't love the whole thing as much as I wanted to, I'm chalking it up to me not being the target audience for this. The art is lovely, and I found the vibrant coloring enjoyable. This is Marianie's first work and I look forward to seeing more from her. I'm just waiting for her Nagmamahal, Maria Clara series to be finished before I buy it. That might be more my thing. . . In full color, written in Filipino. I bought my copy at Komiket but you can probably contact Marianie or Komiks Sundays if you're interesting in getting a copy. I picked it up based on @komikninja's recommendation, and you can read her review for an additional take on this. . . . #Palaso #Marianie #Pinoykomiks #diversecomics #comics #graphicnovel #artPH #readlocalPH #Komiket #IGreads #readersofIG #instabooks #bookstagram #bookstagramPH #bookphotography #bookandcoffee #coffeetime #coffee #cafehopping

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The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli

I really wanted to love The Last Namsara but unfortunately, this was a debut YA fantasy that didn't really work for me. It had a promising start, I really liked the theme of old stories having so much power. And that dragons craved storytelling. Also, yay dragons! But I just wasn't invested in any of the characters. I felt like Asha being a dragon slayer was supposed to be a strong female character, and yet she just keeps doing what others tell her to do without questioning why. It also got on my nerves that Asha kept believing that she was wicked, because that's what she's been told. This is one of those times when a book just wasn't a good fit for me. I'm glad I gave it a try because I was curious about it. Go and look up the summary and read this if you find it interesting, I know a lot of readers enjoyed this much more than I did. . . . #TheLastNamsara #KristenCiccarelli #HarperTeen #fantasyreads #YAfantasy #Kindlebooks #IGreads #readersofIG #instabooks #bookstagram #bookstagramPH #booknerd #bookphotography #bookreview

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Tabi Po by Mervin Malonzo

Tabi Po by Mervin Malonzo is a comics series steeped in Filipino folklore and set during the Spanish colonial period. It features the aswang, a supernatural creature that hungers for flesh and blood. I've heard of Tabi Po before but probably wouldn't have picked it up if it hadn't been highly recommended by friends @fantaghiro23 and @komikninja. Tabi Po Isyu 1 is an intriguing start to the series, where we are introduced to main characters Elias, Tasyo and Sabel. They are all aswang, but have their own distinct personalities. Given the nature of the characters, the artwork shows violent scenes, full of blood and gore. It is not gratuitous violence though, and is necessary to the story. I'm mentioning it only because I'm not sure this is something that everyone would enjoy reading. If you've read Monstress, Saga and The Wicked and the Divine, then you'd have no issues with this series. Maybe check a browsing copy first to see if this is something you'd be interested in. Personally, I found it a refreshing palate cleanser in between my Kindle reads. Smooth storytelling with beautiful artwork and interesting worldbuilding, I'm definitely looking forward to seeing more in Isyu 2 and Isyu 3, which I already own. But I'm pacing them because I'm going to admit that I can't take that much violence in one go. Written in Filipino and in full color, I bought my copy at Komiket and had it signed by the author, which you can also ask for if you order from his website. Also available in local bookstores. Hopefully as ebook editions soon! . . . 📸 @readbyher #TabiPo #MervinMalonzo #Visprint #Pinoykomiks #comics #diversecomics #graphicnovels #artPH #readlocalPH #Komiket #Filipinoauthor #diversebooks #IGreads #readersofIG #instabooks #bookstagram #bookstagramPH #booknerd #bibliophile #bookphotography #cafehopping #cafe

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Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi is a debut YA fantasy novel that has been getting a lot of hype all over the online book community. It's an epic fantasy that has a rich culture inspired by West Africa. I can see why so many readers loved this book, it's a well-written and action-packed adventure story that features strong chatacters. It moves at a fast pace that keeps readers engaged and entertained. At its core, Children of Blood and Bone is a story of how people capable of magic rise up against the oppression they have endured under a tyrant of a king. I recognize the relevance of this kind of writing, and that it's a story that deserves to be told. However on a personal level, I can't say that I loved this book. Purely because there's only so much pain and suffering that I can read before I distance myself from what's happening in the story. I keep reading just to find out what happens but I'm not as involved with the characters, and that stops me from loving them. I'm willing to see characters go through difficult situations but I need the darkness to be balanced with enough hope and light for me to keep going. Sadly, I didn't feel that was the case with this one. Still, look up the premise to see if it's something you'll enjoy. I know mine is an unpopular opinion about this book. You might love it a lot more than I did. . . . #ChildrenofBloodandBone #TomiAdeyemi #Macmillan #bookreview #YAfantasy #youngadultlit #diversebooks #Kindlebooks #IGreads #readersofIG #instabooks #bookstagram #bookstagramPH #bookworm #bibliophile #booknerd #bookphotography #bookandcoffee #coffee #coffeelover #coffeetime #cafehopping #cappuccino

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Kabuwanan anthology by Haliya Publishing

I loved the concept behind @haliyapublishing's Kabuwanan anthology: seven stories from various female comics creators. I'm always happy to support Filipino authors and artists and I'm glad Haliya shined the spotlight on women in this anthology. . Each story has its own distinct artistic style and way of storytelling. In full color, which I'm always a fan of. They're all interesting in their own way, but as with any anthology, not all stories worked for me. Even though I could appreciate the art, I wasn't able to connect with some of the stories. I chalk it up to me not being the target reader for them. I did love two stories though: the ones from @hulyen and @deadbalagtas. Hulyen's was hilarious and so relatable, and I've shared snapshots of her story because it resonates with other readers as well. Emiliana Kampilan's was a gorgeously drawn short story about a babaylan character. I loved the rich detail and history that she included in this tale. Would definitely love to read more from these two comics creators. . Kabuwanan is a title that I'd still recommend overall because out of seven stories, you're bound to love at least one or two of them. Kudos to Haliya, and I hope they publish more books like this. . . . #bookreview #GGSSG #artPH #Kabuwanan #HaliyaPublishing #Hulyen #EmilianaKampilan #Filipinoauthors #Filipinobooks #Pinoykomiks #readlocalPH #diversebooks #ownvoices #comics #graphicnovel #IGreads #readersofIG #instabooks #bookstagram #bookstagramPH #bookworm #bibliophile #booknerd #bookphotography

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What books have you read in March and what did you think of them? Any stand out reads?

romanceclass origins: Georgette Gonzales

romanceclass origins

romanceclass is a community of authors and readers who gather together to support indie published contemporary romance written by Filipino authors. Whether they’re a reader or an author, all community members have their romanceclass origin story… various stories of how and when they joined the community. romanceclass origins is a blog feature that highlights these origin stories.

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

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1) How did you discover romanceclass?

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

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

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

Gette and Mina

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

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

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

Gette book launches

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

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

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

Gette

3) What are your recommended romanceclass reads?

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

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

Dare to Love Queen's Game Iris After the Incident

The Kitchen When It Sizzles - indie Promdi Heart Summer Feels

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

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

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