Fred Lo and Gio Gahol reading Agay Llanera’s Another Word for Happy
It’s been a year since the last #AprilFeelsDay, and so much has changed for the #romanceclass community since then. The books keep coming and so do the invitations to hold events at different locations, and I’m constantly amazed at how this community continues to grow. And not just in size, but also with the books that it puts out.
Oh Mylanta, it’s been six months since I last put up anything on this here blog. So many things happened — a new job, even more #romanceclass events that I love going to ut can’t seem to write about, and the daily struggle of trying to finish something creative.
Lost in all of that was my plan to post a review of C.P. Santi’s Dare to Love. I was given an ARC of this and even had time set aside to blog about it, but life and responsibilities piled up and now here we are, posting about it five months after I finished reading it.
When I was asked to review this new book by C.P. Santi, I didn’t hesitate at all as i enjoyed her work in Maybe This Time. As I’ve never read a full-length work from her, I wanted to know what she would be able to do beyond the restrictions of a short story.
So about four days ago, past and present participants of #romanceclass, as well as dozens of Filipino romance novel enthusiasts, met up at Pegi Waffles in San Juan to wallow in feels for most of the afternoon. It was a month in the planning, and to be quite frank, I thought it would just be a gathering of the usual suspects.
With more than a dozen students finishing contemporary romance novelist Mina Esguerra’s #romanceclass in the middle of last year, it’s not surprising to see the variety of stories that these fledgling authors have now made available on different platforms online.
Readers looking for an international romance between a plucky Filipino and a Brit pop star can get their fix with Kesh Tanglao’s “The Real Score,” which tells the ups and downs of the friendship that develops between exec Caitlin Tan and boybander Marcus Wayans.
For a story with a dash of social media and a tour of the lesser known attractions of the city of Macau, readers can look to Chrissie Peria’s “All’s Fair in Blog and War,” which chronicles the attraction that blossoms between bloggers Five Cuevas and Jesse Ruiz.
Another #romanceclass product that offers something different from the norm is Miles Tan’s novella, “Finding X.” Set in Tagaytay and Manila, “Finding X” brings together IT frontend developer Carlisle Santiago and Matteo Villegas in a story replete with humor, adorable interactions, and bad geology puns.
Ever since contemporary romance novel writer Mina Esguerra’s #romanceclass concluded in the middle of last year, more than a dozen people who have taken the class have gone on to finish their own novellas and self-publish on different platforms.
One of the earliest to finish was food blogger Chrissie Peria, who came out with All’s Fair in Blog and War,” a romance that happens in the Philippines, in Macau, and on the world wide web.
“All’s Fair in Blog and War” tells the story of Five Cuevas, a travel blogger who finds herself invited to an all-expense paid familiarization tour to the special administrative region of Macau, along with four other bloggers. It’s something that Five has been looking forward to doing, and has even enlisted the help of her sister to help her explore the less touristy side of the region.
However, her tour is off to a bad start when there is immediate friction between Five and photo blogger Jesse Ruiz. Five finds Jesse insufferable, and things begin to look even more dire when the two become each other’s designated travel buddy.
But something happens on the way to Macau. It begins with small things, and soon Five doesn’t find Jesse as irritating as he was back home. Five begins to notice that Jesse is much more attentive to her needs. Despite how they first met, Five begins to consider the possibility of being more than just friends with Jesse.
After getting to know Macau and each other over the course of several days, Five is ready to take a chance with Jesse. But when an unexpected twist shakes up Five’s plans, will she be able to get back on track and still find love along the way?
Several months ago, chick lit author Mina Esguerra conducted a romance novel writing class for dozens of aspiring romance writers.
The numbers were whittled down as the months progressed, until five aspiring writers managed to finish — and self-publish — their own contemporary romance novellas.
One of those five authors is Kessica Tanglao, who debuts with the novella, “The Real Score.” Set in the Philippines and in England, it tells the ups and downs of the friendship that develops between Filipina Caitlin Tan and Brit boy Marcus Wayans.
Senior media planning executive Caitlin Tan thinks she’s got it all figured out. Her whole life is organized and synced on her phone, Outlook, and her Starbucks planner. Her meticulous planning and dedication to her work has helped send both her siblings to school, and throwing all of that away for an adventure isn’t something she isn’t keen on doing.
But it’s adventure that comes her way when her colleague Lorin manages to score the two of them tickets to meet and greet Gezellig, the latest boyband to take the planet by storm. Despite going into the meet and greet not knowing anything about the group, she ends up catching the eye of Marlon Wayans, the band’s de facto frontman.
From there, Caitlin and Marlon develop a friendship, one that manages to survive being separated by continents, nosy fans, and the occasional drunk call or two. But when a trip to London results in a misunderstanding that could change the dynamics of their friendship, will Caitlin and Marlon be able to come out of it intact?