#AprilFeelsDay2023 was a blast!

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:

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Five years in the making…

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.

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New anthology alert: Pawfect For You!

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.

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When food and kilig go hand-in-hand

*points up* I was one of the guests for #RomanceClass Podcast S5’s 1st episode featuring food and kilig! We had a lot of fun talking about the food we incorporated in our NomCom: Tropetastic Kindness Bundle 2 stories, and also managed to make ourselves (and the audience) hungry in the process, LOL.

If you have been reading a lot of #RomanceClass books, you’ll have noticed how much we love including food in our books. From the popular champorado in Summer Crush and Second Wave Summer to the scandalous biko in Alta: A High Society Romance Anthology, to the scrumptious mangoes in Mango Summer and the many, delicious meals the Aguas family had in If the Dress Fits, food is an inevitable part of our stories. I personally think it makes the characters and places more relatable, more vivid. It also adds an extra layer of interest for me, because I tend to want to try the dishes mentioned in the books (especially if I haven’t had them in a long time, or ever).

What’s a dish you’ve wanted to try or have tried because you’ve read about it in a book?

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Music x Book Match: Ben&Ben

In mid-December, I started a Twitter thread that matched Ben&Ben songs with #romanceclass titles, and it garnered a bit of attention from my mutuals as well as people I don't know. Because that thread was made rather haphazardly, I thought of creating a new one with better visuals and stuff, but things got busy right before the holidays, and I wasn't able to continue/complete the thread at all. And because I vowed that I would try my best to finish things I started, here's a blog post instead! <3

(NOTE: I'm going to try doing this Music x Book Match a regular thing just like Pinoy Movie x Book Match, so wish me luck!)

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Pinoy Movie x Book Match: Got 2 Believe

The hate-to-love / enemies-to-lovers trope takes center stage because the featured Pinoy rom-com this week is the Claudine Barretto-Rico Yan starrer, Got 2 Believe!

THE MOVIE

Got 2 Believe (2002) opens with a wedding, the perfect milieu for us to get to know wedding planner Toni (Claudine Barretto) and event photographer Lorenz (Rico Yan). Hopeless romantic Toni loves weddings and the promise of happy-ever-after, while marriage/relationship cynic Lorenz is only in it for the money and career advancement. Early in the film, we learn that for the longest time, Lorenz has been annoying the shizz out of Toni by taking the most unflattering photos of her at weddings they’ve both been part of. This causes her to vehemently swear off working with him ever again.

This is an unfortunate development for Lorenz, who gets a shot at being featured in Life Asia Magazine when his friend George (Nina Ricci Alagao) expresses her desire to write a story about Toni, the perennial bridesmaid. Mustering his confidence, he approaches Toni with the Life Asia Magazine deal, saying it’s the perfect way to promote her business. She turns it down in a heartbeat, but after her romantic fantasies with Arnold (Carlo Muñoz) fall apart when he gets married to her best friend Karen (Nikki Valdez), Lorenz changes his strategy and offers her not only the magazine feature, but also the prospect of finding her a match. Eventually, she agrees, but only after he promises he won’t ever bother her again after the magazine feature is published.

After a bunch of failed dates, Lorenz finally finds the “perfect boyfriend” for Toni. But while he shows her how to be the “perfect girlfriend,” he finds himself falling for her instead.

Oops?

Got 2 Believe is available for viewing on iWant.

THE BOOK MATCH

^ Probably my favorite song off the soundtrack, because it plays just when Lorenz gets this epiphany that he is, in fact, in love with Toni.

After friends-to-lovers, perhaps enemies-to-lovers is my second favorite trope (tied very closely with faux dating) because there’s just something so delicious about two people who absolutely could not stand each other eventually realizing they have fallen in love. How inconvenient, right? How kilig!

If you liked Got 2 Believe, or enemies-to-lovers is your catnip, check out these #romanceclass titles which are right up your alley.

Project Saving Noah by Six de los Reyes

Noah might be the best oceanographer the Institute has seen in years, so he’s in no hurry to finish his Master’s degree…until a new arrival threatens his chance at a once-in-a-lifetime research grant. Suddenly, it’s sink or swim time.

Lise knows there’s a slot at the Institute’s newest project with her name on it. But she’s all math and very little science, and when it comes to the ocean, she’s completely out of her depth.

Lise and Noah are determined to win—even if it means working with each other to overcome their fears. But what begins as a shallow bargain lands them straight into the deep end when they realize they want the same thing—each other. Unable to ignore their physical chemistry, can they balance personal ambitions against an illogical attraction that threatens everything they’ve worked so hard to achieve?

Flipping the Script by Danice Mae P. Sison

Miri dela Merced’s film director grandfather and Pabs Paglinauan’s studio head grandmother had a huge falling out that ended Lolo Ikong’s career. At seventeen, Miri finds herself in the same summer film internship program as the down-to-earth film studio heir Pabs, whom she’s decided to automatically write off, just because of his lineage. As Miri gets a crash course in her expectations vs the reality of what’s it like to work on a real movie, her true feelings for Pabs become harder and harder to ignore. In between attending outdoor screenings of classic Pinoy movies and battling monster production assistants together, can flipping the script on a decades-old grudge be only a few sequences away?

Better at Weddings Than You by Mina V. Esguerra

Daphne Cardenas is the best wedding planner around, and everyone knows it. That’s why her friend Greg hired her as an emergency replacement one month before his wedding—because he fears his fiancée Helen is falling for the guy they first hired for the job.

Aaron Trinidad is new to the wedding industry but years of conference planning and loads of charm make him good at it. Really good at it. Planning the wedding of his friend Helen should be easy, and it is. To be unceremoniously fired isn’t good for his new career, but the chance to learn from the best might be the silver lining.

Aaron and Daphne have chemistry, but there’s history with Helen that at least one other person considers a threat. Who’s the planner who can fix this impending disaster?

(Part of the Chic Manila series, but can be read as a standalone.)

Keeping the Distance by Clarisse David

No bets. No fake relationships. Just a very real one that has to be kept under wraps.

Seventeen-year-old Melissa wants to dye her hair cotton candy pink and focus on her ukulele instead of Physics. But she can’t. As the daughter of a Catholic school principal, living up to her model student image 24/7 is a must. Something’s about to give under all the pressure. She only hopes it isn’t her.

Getting involved with a troublemaking basketball player is the last possible thing she needs…

Lance is used to getting what he wants. With a pretty face he uses to full advantage and his role as co-captain of the basketball team, the easy way is the only way he’s ever known. Until the day he notices the prim Melissa he’s known forever is actually hot and decides to ask her out. He has no idea he’s about to learn the lesson of a lifetime.

Not getting what he wants might exactly be what he needs…

Chasing Mr. Prefect by Katt Briones

For the first time in her life, Vinnie finds herself on the brink of academic suspension.

While standing up to a bully is something she’ll never regret, she has to take on additional responsibilities in lieu of punishment for the offense. This unfortunately involves working with Cholo, the head disciplinary prefect, who seems to take delight in other people’s blunders. Her determination to match his expectations eventually leads her into a crazy chase to keep up.

That’s it for this edition of Pinoy Movie x Book Match! If you love this trope, I hope you pick up any of the books listed above, and also maybe watch the movie? ^_^ I know, I know…it is pretty dated, but I still think it’s one of the best Pinoy rom-coms of its time. Hey, what’s your favorite hate-to-love rom-com movie / book? Mind sharing in the comments below?

See ya next post! ^_^

What is #romanceclass?

#romanceclass is a community of:

  • Authors who attended #romanceclass, #romanceclass2016, 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
  • Actors and artists who are part of the event and publishing process

We are a community of Filipino writers and readers who gather together to do what we love.

Check out our website for more books and information on where to get them: romanceclassbooks.com

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#romanceclass X #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy Virtual Panels

Buwan Ng Mga Akdang Pinoy Virtual Panels by #romanceclass

Part of #romanceclass’ month-long celebration of Buwan ng mga Akdang Pinoy is a weekly virtual panel that discusses the various work the community has done so far. It happens every weekend of August (Friday-Sunday) starting Friday, August 9.

Check out the week’s schedule below (subject to change without prior notice):

August 16, Friday

7:00 PM — Author AMA with Angeli Dumatol

Angeli E. Dumatol is a physician by profession and when she’s not in the clinics, she can be found writing stories, reading books, or getting lost in a daydream. Her first #romanceclass novel is Heartstruck, which is also the first book in the #romanceclassFlicker collection.

Send in your questions for Angeli here.

9:00 PM — Author AMA with Dawn Lanuza

Dawn Lanuza writes contemporary romance, young adult fiction and prose poetry. She has two first loves – music and writing – and is lucky enough to surround herself with them. She is the author behind The Boyfriend Backtrack, The Hometown Hazard, What About Today, and the poetry collection, The Last Time I’ll Write About You. Her most recent releases are You Are Here (poetry), and Stay a Little Longer (romance novel), both published by Andrews McMeel Publishing.

Send in your questions for Dawn here.

August 17, Saturday

5:00 PM — Serving Face, or Why We Like Visual Pegs So Much

Why, indeed, do we love assigning faces to our characters? Why do we have 762743 photos of (insert actor/actress’ name here) saved in our phones/computers? And how does that help our writing process? This and more — send in your questions — on this panel.

Panelists: Ana Tejano, Bianca Mori, and Tara Frejas

Send in your questions for this panel here.

7:00 PM — So You Think You Can Vlog/Podcast?

Are you an aspiring book vlogger/podcaster? Get insights on how you can start and maintain your own book vlog or podcast in this panel!

Panelists: Ansela Corsino (Adulting for Authors), Kat Mayo (BookThingo)
Host: Carla de Guzman

Send in your questions for this panel here.

August 18, Sunday

5:00 PM — #RomanceClass Covers

#RomanceClass Covers offers more cover options for Filipino/Asian authors and their stories. We’ll talk about how this endeavor started, how it has affected the way #romanceclass covers are now conceptualized/designed, and maybe (just maybe) behind-the-scenes stories from the shoots!

Panelists: Carla de Guzman, Miles Tan, Mina V. Esguerra, Tania Arpa
Host: Chi Yu Rodriguez

Send in your questions for this panel here.

7:00 PM — Author AMA with Tara Frejas

Tara Frejas works as a Virtual Assistant by day, and writes romance by night. She published her first book in 2015 after joining Mina V. Esguerra’s Author at Once Workshop and has since written seven more books and contributed to three anthologies. Her books are often reflections of the things she loves, like basketball (Settle the Score & Hustle Play), musicals (Waiting in the Wings), and KPop (Scandalized / Play It By Ear).

Send in your questions for Tara here.


We all hope you can join us on Twitter for these discussions! (There might be some giveaways per panel, so if you’re lucky, you might win some pretty, shiny prizes!) See you on Friday! <3

PREVIOUS PANELS

WEEK ONE

August 9, Friday

7:00 PM — #romanceclassFlicker: Stories behind the #romanceclass YA imprint

Panelists: Agay Llanera, Angeli Dumatol, Danice Mae P. Sison, and Catherine Dellosa
Host: Ines Bautista-Yao

Send in your questions for this panel here.


August 10, Saturday

5:00 PM — Author AMA: Chi Yu Rodriguez

Chi Yu Rodriguez is the author of The Byebye Bouquet, Love and Other Questionable Life Choices, and No Two Ways. She is also the official photographer of #romanceclasscovers (@romanceclasscovers on Instagram). Send in your questions for Chi here.


August 11, Sunday

5:00 PM — Slay that Slump: #romanceclass authors and their writing habits + how they motivate themselves to Get Shit Done

This is an open panel hosted by Tara Frejas. All #romanceclass authors are welcome to jump in and answer questions presented during the discussion.

Send in your questions for this panel here.

7:00 PM — Author AMA: Angel C. Aquino

Angel C. Aquino is a freelance writer, editor, and content creator based in Manila. Her short story, “The Bucket List” was published in the Summit Books anthology, Coming of Age. Love At First Run is her first #romanceclass novel. Send in your questions for Angel here.

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New #romanceclass releases: Flipping the Script and Kiss and Cry!

Last Saturday, March 2, #romanceclass had a “double-feature” book launch for Danice Mae P. Sison’s Flipping the Script (#romanceclassFlicker #2) and Mina V. Esguerra’s Kiss and Cry (#Six32Central #2).

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As always, it was a fun morning day, filled with stories and good food (and tea, lots of it). I don’t know about you, but I like #romanceclass book launches. Apart from the fact that I like seeing our books being displayed and photographed in various venues, they’re always so casual and fun, and we usually play a lot of musical chairs — as in people transferring from one seat to another to socialize or simply to say hello.

For last Saturday’s launch, we were treated to brunch (braunch, anyone?) at Kanto Freestyle in Annapolis, Greenhills. There was Chocnut Champorado (yes, it’s A Thing!) and Pulled Beef Pares Nachos for everyone, while I ordered some Chili Garlic Longganisa and coffee for myself. In the middle of brunching and chatting, people bought books, asked for them to be signed, took pictures, and Instagrammed the day away. Very chill. ^_^

If you don’t already know, here’s what Flipping the Script and Kiss and Cry are about.

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