Today we are hosting author Amelia C. Gormley on her tour for her latest book: Player vs. Player. I feel in love with Amelia’s writing after I read Strain. Excited to hear she is writing two more books in that series. But on to what’s hot right now….
How Gaming Made Me The Author I Am Today
Hi, and welcome to the Player vs. Player blog tour!
I’ve mentioned in the past that I owe my presence in the m/m romance genre to gaming. I mean that quite literally.
My relationship with gaming tends to be pretty cyclical. My interest comes and goes in phases. Around, oh, 2010, I hadn’t played anything for a while, but I’d spent most of the last decade playing MMOs (massively multiplayer online games, like Everquest, World of Warcraft, or Lord of the Rings Online) rather than single-player RPGs or FPSs. Then I started hearing rumbles on Facebook about this new game called Dragon Age: Origins. Specifically, I kept seeing people gush about this character named Alistair, who could be a love interest for the player’s character.
“Romance?” My ears perked up. The last time I’d played anything but MMOs but there hadn’t been any options to romance non-player characters.
I was intrigued.
So I picked up Dragon Age: Origins, created a female avatar, and set about figuring out how to get into Chantry-boy Alistair’s pants. But what struck me repeatedly as I played was Alistair’s chemistry with many of the other male NPCs. He had this hero-worshipping, puppy-like devotion to his mentor, Duncan, that smacked of unrequited love. And his reactions to flamboyantly bisexual Zevran flirting with him (or leading him to make innocent entendre) were absolutely delicious.
Now, you have to understand how odd this was for me. Slash goggles? I’ve never had them. I have always adored canonically LGBT characters, but I was never one to pick up on homoerotic subtext. So why was I convinced Alistair was bi, and needing to see more of that from him?
I started writing fic. Which was something else I hadn’t done in about a decade, because the time-sink of playing MMOs and the lack of need to add anything to those worlds erased both my time to write fic and my desire to do so. But more importantly, I started writing slash fic, which I’d never done before. My first slash fic was Alistair/Duncan, and I also proceeded to write huge novels (212K and 400K respectively) about a ménage with Alistair/fem!PC/Zevran. Eventually I also wrote a hardcore Alistair/Duncan BDSM fic that would inspire some of the concepts I used in Strain (if you squint and tilt your head, you can see some echoes of the Darkspawn taint in the Bane virus, and writing that fic is where I first got the idea for a situation of inoculating a person against a toxic agent by means of sexual transmission.)
Then in late 2011, a friend I had made through Dragon Age fandom started talking to me about these original m/m romances she was buying on Amazon, and how people were self-publishing it. She said I should look into it, since my writing was equal or better than much of what she was finding. Again, this wasn’t something I’d ever heard of before. Sometime during the decade I’d lost playing MMOs, both original m/m romance and self-publishing had become a thing.
Now here I am, two and a half years later, and it felt appropriate to take a moment to acknowledge my gaming roots. Writing Player vs. Player offered me the opportunity to revisit this background and acknowledge where being a gamer has led me. When I decided to tackle the issue of toxic and violent backlash against pro-diversity activists in gaming, it came from a very personal place.
So thank you, to the game developers who created the characters who inspired me to enter this next phase of my life as a writer, and to the game devs who are working to create more diverse content like my characters in Player vs. Player are doing.
Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a choice of one a book from my backlist (excluding Player vs Player.) Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 13th. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.
Check the tour schedule for more participating blogs.
Player vs Player
Pushing for change can be dangerous when change starts pushing back.
Video game writer Niles River loves the work he does at Third Wave Studios: creating games with mass appeal that feature women, people of color, and LGBTQ characters. To make his job even better, his best friend is his boss, and his twin brother works beside him. And they mostly agree that being on the forefront of social change is worth dealing with trollish vitriol—Niles is more worried about his clingy ex and their closeted intern’s crush on his brother than he is about internet harassment.
But now the bodies on the ground are no longer virtual, and someone’s started hand-delivering threats to Niles’s door. The vendetta against Third Wave has escalated, and to make matters worse, the investigating detective is an old flame who left Niles heartbroken for a life in the closet.
No change happens without pain, but can Niles justify continuing on with Third Wave when the cost is the blood of others? If he does, the last scene he writes may be his own death.
Amelia C. Gormley may seem like anyone else. But the truth is she sings in the shower, dances doing laundry, and writes blisteringly hot m/m erotic romance while her son is at school. When she’s not writing in her Pacific Northwest home, Amelia single-handedly juggles her husband, her son, their home, and the obstacles of life by turning into an everyday superhero. And that, she supposes, is just like anyone else.
Her self-published novel-in-three-parts, Impulse (Inertia, Book One; Acceleration, Book Two; and Velocity, Book Three) can be found at most major online book retailers, and be sure to check Riptide for her latest releases, including her Highland historical, The Laird’s Forbidden Lover, the The Professor’s Rule series of erotic novelettes (co-written with Heidi Belleau), the post-apocalyptic romance, Strain, her New Adult contemporary, Saugatuck Summer, and of course, Player vs. Player, available now. She is presently at work on two more novels set in the Strain universe, Juggernaut and Bane, coming summer/fall of 2015.