First things first: Please DO NOT expect much coherence from this post. I know, I know. I’m a writer… I should at least manage to string together some decent words, yes? But Too Many Feelings and Too Few Hours of Sleep can do things to the brain, so… anyway.
February 11 was another day of firsts for #romanceclass. Let me enumerate them:
First time holding an event at the Ayala Museum
First time having six actors live read scenes from our books
First time having a How to Write a Romance Novel lecture read by the live readers
First time having a three-way live reading
First time having Vanya Castor as a live reader
Did I miss anything?
I probably did.
So yeah, anyway… we did a lot of other stuff before the live reading. That included book and merch selling, eating FREE cookies (thanks, Abbie! :D), browsing new books at the Book Cafe (thanks Caryn! :D), finding book blind dates, and playing games. To be honest, I only had two hours of sleep prior to the event, but the energy in the room (where it happened) kept me going.
Hello and welcome to the first installment of this mini blog project I’m doing–this is #RomanceClass ❤ OPM, where I ask Filipino authors and readers to send in songs they find relevant to the books they wrote or read and I curate them into playlists. The only rule: ALL the songs should be OPM.
Brief background for those of you who just stumbled upon this post:
What is #romanceclass?
#RomanceClass is a thriving community of Filipino authors who write romance in English and publish them (traditionally and independently). It began in 2013, when author Mina V. Esguerra facilitated a writing class wherein the objective was to complete a romance novel in a span of three months. Fast forward to 2016, the community and its body of work has grown immensely, exploring new avenues in order to weave new stories and market them. We have participated in bookish events, had writing workshops, talked about how to write more and market our work better, sold books, held live readings, and recently organized our very first standalone event in April. Just recently, a new batch of authors have typed “The End” to new #romanceclass books which may (hopefully!) come out before the end of the year.
What is OPM?
OPM stands for Original Pilipino Music or Original Philippine Music. It was originally used to only refer to pop songs, but has since included all genres like rock, jazz, hip-hop, and so on. OPM is usually written in Filipino/Tagalog or English, but may, in some cases, also have touches of other foreign languages or local dialects.
Click on the Read More button to get to the first playlist I curated for this project, along with some notes from the authors and readers of the featured books. Links to read more about the featured books as well as buy them are included in the post. Have fun!
Get ready for the feels again! The #romanceclass podcast has two new episodes up, and it features Kristel S. Villar’s Blast from Two Pasts, and Jay E. Tria’s Songs of Our Breakup. Just like the previous episodes, the excerpts are interpreted by theatre actors Gio Gahol and Rachel Coates.
Blast from Two Pasts by Kristel S. Villar
Fate’s been playing tricks on Cara Nicolas lately. She agrees to go on a blind date with her best friend’s fiancé’s cousin, only to discover that the guy is her first love from high school, Lucas Lobregat. Now that would have been a charming story, except that the date turns out to be one of the worst ever. And they can’t even pretend it never happened, because they’re both suddenly part of the wedding preparations.
Just as she is starting to get to know more about the boy she used to love, Oliver Sta. Maria, an old flame who owes her some closure, surprisingly shows up. With two pasts resurfacing, which will Cara choose to rekindle? Or can she have the chance to choose at all?
A version of this line appears in the book twice, but I’m going to tweak it a bit and use it anyway: This book should come with a warning.
About what? you ask, and I would say, Everything. Around summer this year, my friends Chi and Therese chose Six de los Reyes’s Just For The Record (JFtR) as one reading piece in preparation for #SparkNA, and they were quickly overcome with so much feels it flooded our Viber chats every so often. The other day I told them, “Guys, I think I found my JFtR.” And it came with a seafoam green Les Paul.
Songs of Our Breakup Jay E. Tria
Every breakup has its playlist.
How do you get over a seven-year relationship? 21-year-old Jill is trying to find out. But moving on is a harder job when Kim, her ex-boyfriend, is the lead guitarist of the band, and Jill is the vocalist. Every song they play together feels like slicing open a barely healed tattoo.
Jill’s best friend Miki says she will be out of this gloom soon. Breakups have a probation period, he says. Jill is on the last month of hers and Miki is patiently keeping her company.
But the real silver lining is Shinta. Having a hot Japanese actor friend in times like these is a welcome distraction. This gorgeous celebrity has been defying time zones and distance through the years to be there for Jill. Now he is here, physically present, and together he and Jill go through old lyrics, vivid memories, walks in the rain, and bottles of beer. Together they try to answer the question: what do you do when forever ends?
Click the Read More link below for my review of Songs of Our Breakup. Word of warning: I’m not even going to kid myself and say I’m going to try my best to be spoiler-free. I’m really just going to spazz and might not be able to help myself. So, read at your own risk!