It’s that time of the year again, folks! Manila International Book Fair is this coming Thursday to Sunday (September 14-17), and it’s being held at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City. Just like last year, #RomanceClass titles will be available at the KOMIKET/Secret HQ booth (Booth #75-76, #83-84) together with a whole lot of amazing graphic novels and komiks by Filipino creators.
Check out this short IG Reel I made to promote my books!
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Something to look forward to at this year’s MIBF is the launch of #RomanceClass and KOMIKET’s new imprint, Blush Books! The first batch of Blush Books are existing #RomanceClass titles which have been given a very special KOMIKET makeover. This means new illustrated covers and additional illustrations in the books’ inside pages. Do follow #RomanceClass on Instagram and/or TikTok to see the new covers! (2/3 have been revealed so far.)
The Blush Books official launch will be on Sunday, September 17, 6:30 pm at the stage area of the SMX Convention Center. Our live readers Gio Gahol, Rachel Coates, and Jade Albert will be reading excerpts from books by Brigitte Bautista, Danice Mae P. Sison, and Dawn Lanuza. Hope you can join us!
So #AprilFeelsDay2023 was two Saturdays ago, and it was a fun time, as always, seeing old faces, meeting new friends, celebrating the release of new books, and squealing in kilig hearing scenes from our books being read back to us. This is the SEVENTH #AprilFeelsDay we’ve had (the first one was in 2017! Imagine that!) and the first in-person one since 2020, so it felt like the first time all over again (yes, even if we got to do an in-person #FeelsFest event in October last year).
Here are some highlights from #AprilFeelsDay2023:
Five years ago, I tweeted this:
I don’t remember anymore how exactly I came up with the plunny, although it’s possible that it’s mostly because I had Daniel Henney in mind as the love interest. He loves dogs, and so do I…and I’d never really written a story yet where the characters had pets, so I wanted to give it a try.
I’ve kept the idea for the story in my growing list of plunnies to explore, but only got around to writing it until sometime in late 2021, when I decided to put together an anthology of short stories that eventually became What If We Fall In Love? I shelved this story and instead included my NomCom submission, Your Heart, To Go, to complete the lineup. I thought it would take a while before I got to revisit the manuscript, but an opportunity to finish it came when submissions for Pawfect For You (then simply called Tropetastic 3) came along.
Friends and lovers, listen up! #RomanceClass is back with another charity anthology, and this year, we are helping cats and dogs in need!
On National Pet Day (April 11), we did a cover reveal+ pre-order link drop for Pawfect For You: Tropetastic Kindness Bundle 3. It’s a collection of six all-new nakakakilig stories where the main characters are pet owners/pet lovers falling in love. Check out the wonderful cover below, illustrated by Liza S. dela Cruz.
We met Liza last year when she worked with #romanceclass authors Carla de Guzman and Celestine Trinidad for their KILIG anthology entries, and it was so lovely getting to work with her for this cover. Don’t you think it’s pretty? ^_^
Included in the anthology are stories by Danice Mae P. Sison, Ines Bautista-Yao, Tara Frejas (that’s me!), Celestine Trinidad, Angel C. Aquino, and Jay E. Tria. You may pre-order a copy of the book at US$7 (or the price you want) at kilig.pub/pawfect4u. Just like our previous charity anthologies, Pawfect For You is available for a limited time only (until June 29, 2023), so please make sure you grab this opportunity to get the book while it lasts.
Pawfect For You will be released on April 29, 2023. ALL PROCEEDS will go to Pawssion Project, a non-government organization dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and rehoming of cats and dogs in distress.
In case you missed the announcements on my social media accounts (and newsletter), my latest #romanceclass book What If We Fall In Love? is coming out on Saturday, December 31st—and yes, you may pre-order it now!
What If We Fall In Love? is a collection of three short stories, two of which are new, and one previously published as part of #romanceclass’ NomCom: A Foodie Romance Anthology, published in February of this year.
Ah, how do I even begin this review?
Sci-fi isn’t really my cup of tea, I admit. I rarely watch sci-fi films or dramas, and even though I subscribe to the belief that we are not alone in the universe, I’m not easily lured into watching alien-related stuff. I did pick up Glitch, however, because I liked both lead actresses Jeon Yeobeen and Nana’s works I’ve recently watched (Vincenzo and Into the Ring, respectively), and I was curious about how they’d play off of each other’s energies.
But while they delivered chemistry in spades (you should have made it gay, Netflix, just saying!), the storytelling was a clunky mess.
Okay, listen: I am instantly drawn to anything that presents stories of life and death, especially ones that create worlds and hypotheses about the afterlife. Tomorrow fits the bill, and I quickly put it on my Netflix watch list even if it took me months to actually be in the right headspace to consume it.
The short review: I loved it.
I really wanted to like this.
Honestly, anything KDrama and KPop would be a huge draw for me, and Flip The Script looked like a promising queer romance between two young KDrama actresses who were supposed to be rivals in a TV show. What’s not to get excited about?
I love cover reveals. I do. Especially when I know the author doing it and I trust them to “deliver the goods,” so to speak. And also when I’m the one doing the reveal.
In the #romanceclass community, we have a project called #romanceclasscovers where we (or actually, our resident photographer, Chi Yu Rodriguez) takes photos of Filipino models (sometimes they’re actors, sometimes they’re friends of friends!) and we put these photos on the covers of our books. It doesn’t sound quite revolutionary when you think about it, but it’s a statement. It says, loudly, that we want to see Filipinos on the covers of our books. We want to see not just faces, but faces with real emotion. Poses that entice and tickle the imagination. The whole she-bang.
It’s a representation thing. It’s an aesthetic thing. It’s a choice.
My choice for my upcoming book, What If We Fall In Love?, is a playful, happy photo of Gab Pangilinan and Gio Gahol taken way back in 2017, when we still did regular studio shoots for #romanceclass covers. It’s been hidden away for so long, I’ve just being waiting and waiting and waiting to see where I could use it, and the opportunity presented itself after deciding on releasing a romance anthology.
And here it is—the cover of What If We Fall In Love?:
Reading Kaith C. Cimafranca’s Take Two reminded me of those cozy Star Cinema rom-coms in the 90s where stakes weren’t as high, but you still root for the main characters really hard. In Take Two, now-Canadian resident VJ meets her TOTGA (she will deny this if you call him that, btw) at a party 19 years after she left the Philippines to start anew. Marco instantly feels how aloof VJ is, but he doesn’t seem to mind, and we understand this little dynamic of theirs as the story brings us back and forth from their college years to the present.