When The Voices In Your Head Escape (AKA My First #RomanceClass Experience)

I forgot when exactly it was that Mina tagged me in a #romanceclass discussion thread on Facebook, saying because of certain things she knows about me, she’s inviting me to tag along to this little gathering. Of course I would have loved to join them, but I was new to the group and didn’t know the “rules” yet, if there were any, so getting that little invite made me happy. I asked Mina what those things were, and she gave me only one hint:

Rak of Aegis

Oh she got me. She got me good. 😛

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As it turns out, Mina acquired the help of two young theatre actors–Gio Gahol (PETA) and Rachel Coates (Repertory Philippines/Manila Shakespeare Company)–to do excerpt reading from some of the books produced under #romanceclass. The selection included Mina’s newest book Tempting Victoria, In Over Her Head by Anne Plaza, Cover (Story) Girl by Chris Mariano, and Finding X by Miles Tan. It was a surprise to the three other authors, who were all so (pleasantly!) flustered having their work read to them out loud like that. I could only imagine how hard their hearts must have raced as their work was announced before each reading, and I had a lot of fun taking videos of everyone in the room as well, who were reacting accordingly to the actors’ interpretations.

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^ Yeap, that’s me with the phone up and covering my face, documenting the experience Anne’s expressions were priceless, I wished we had a multi-cam set-up. (TARAY!)

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^ 15-second excerpt from In Over Her Head. Could you hear the sweet velvety chocolate that is Gio Gahol’s voice? He claims he can do more voices . . . one of which we heard here:

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The full videos are now up for private viewing by the #romanceclass ladies, mostly because 1) some of us have already called dibs on Gio and don’t want to share, and; 2) we’re planning something special around it, so we need to watch it over and over again . . . for science.

I am so happy I actually was able to make it. I mean, I was just working in Kapitolyo but sometimes it can swallow me whole, so . . . anyway. Anyway. Gio and Rachel were super adorable and very, very professional. I haven’t had a lot of experience listening to audio books (although last year I got to listen to one narrated by Aaron Tveit, holy God /sighs) but I have to agree that some narrators don’t evoke as much emotion reading the piece. Listening to Gio and Rachel interpret each of the four excerpts left me wanting more of what they could offer, and I believe everybody felt the same. Believe me when I tell you that the air-conditioning did NOTHING to relieve us of the heat in the room brought about by All The Feelings We Were Feeling.

It was a really enjoyable night for all of us authors, and we could only hope our special guests enjoyed themselves as much as we did. This exercise opened doors to new ideas, opportunities, and discussions about what else we can do with the work we’ve put out, and the work we will be churning out in the near future. It was also a very nice, creative way to remind us of the technical things we might be overlooking when writing, and at the same time, an encouraging push to those of us who would always be plagued by thoughts of “Is my work any good? I think it’s safe to say that all of us in that room left it completely motivated to write our next book or continue what we’re already working on, and that’s just awesome. More new books from us is always awesome. ^_^

I’m so looking forward to more #romanceclass gatherings, like the sports-themed one in December. ESPECIALLY that one. I never thought I wanted to write a sports romance before but being able to finish one for #TalesFromTheMetro gave me a good push. It even made me want to continue a thing I’d started before but had put in the backburner for a while now. Now that there’s a sports-themed discussion, there’s no way I’m gonna miss it . . . especially because of that thing Mina told me. BE STILL MY HEART. I have two months to learn how to school my expression to that of calmness and decency, at least.

God, help me.

Thank you Mina, for your crazy experiments which always turn out to be crazy awesome. Thank you Gio and Rachel, for taking time off from your schedules to get holed up in a room with a bunch of swooning authors for two whole hours, and for being so awesome with your craft. I wish you both well, and we will see each other again! <3

More blog posts about this, because I’m not a very coherent storyteller right now. Here is Anne Plaza’s version of the story, and this one here is Mina’s.

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