Yet another author misrepresenting themselves kerfuffle

Everyone knows my name isn’t really Amelia C. Gormley, right?


There. Now you know everything anyone who reads my books or has any knowledge of me through the world of m/m romance will ever need to know about me. Probably way more than you need to know, actually, considering how much 100% legitimately personal and TMI stuff I share on my blog and Tumblr.

In the past few months, the m/m romance world has had at least two instances of cis-(het?) women being exposed as having presented themselves to readers and reviewers and other authors in the genre as gay men.

Obviously, this is a problem.

I don’t think it’s any mystery why authors choose pen names. First of all, it’s totally a marketing tool. Throughout history, authors–especially women authors–have needed to misrepresent their gender in order for their work to be published or taken seriously.

In this day and age, that is still unfortunately true. And in all honesty male/male romance DOES have a problem where the readers and movers and shakers within the genre tend to elevate male authors above female authors. They get signed more readily. Their books get priority for editing and marketing. They get moved to market quicker and are a priority for reviewing or purchase by readers for no other reason than it’s a male name on the cover. That’s an issue we really need to deal with.

But these incidences are something else entirely.

This isn’t a woman representing herself as a white cis-het male just to get a foot in the door with publishers. In that case, the woman is part of an oppressed group just trying to get the same opportunities that come automatically and without scrutiny to a privileged group.

That isn’t the same thing at all.

If this were a white author presenting themselves as being black, we would clearly see why this is a problem. The issue here is the appropriation of an oppressed/minority identity by a member of a privileged majority in order for that privileged person to profit off the representation of an inauthentic identity.

These authors aren’t just using a male name. They are actually creating a gay male persona and using it for the purpose of essentially catfishing the entire genre.

Doing it just for the money is bad enough. But in the process, that privileged person also makes people in the oppressed group think they’ve found one of their own, someone they can relate to because that person is like them. And then it turns out to be a lie.

If you don’t understand why that’s an issue, refresh your memory about the Rachel Dolezal.

It not only hurts the people who have been deceived, it also damages efforts on the part of that oppressed group to be taken seriously.

A pen name? Pfft, that’s nothing. That’s business as usual. In a world where people as insignificant as local tv news anchors and newspaper reporters and even fucking baristas can get stalkers who think they have some claim on that person because they have a public presence, putting some distance between one’s public persona and one’s private self seems to be not only a notion worthy of consideration, but the only possible sane choice.

Especially when one writes in a genre that is dedicated to exploring the relationships and promoting/normalizing the acceptance of a subset of the population whose very existence happens to make another subset of the population ACTUALLY MURDEROUSLY ANGRY.

So yeah, I use a pen name and I am pretty certain exactly 0% of the people who follow me as an author are surprised by that fact.

However–I have never misrepresented WHO I AM AS A PERSON. Nor will I ever do so. I have never made up a fictional backstory for myself. I have never created a fictional reality to sell to my followers. I have never solicited donations for various causes under that assumed identity.

I am the gender I say I am. I am the age I say I am. I am the birthsign I say I am.

I, for the most part, have the same personality you see in my online and convention presence. I say “for the most part” because of course I do try to publicly present myself in the best light; I can be far more of an asshole in reality. (And considering how much of an asshole I can be online already, that’s saying something.)

I can promise my readers I will never lead them to believe the books or the blog posts they enjoy or connect with on a personal level, and the things I share or publish that make them feel they aren’t alone in the world for one reason or another, come from someone other than who I truly am.

I can promise the people I meet and befriend along this zany journey through this genre that they will never someday stumble upon the realization that I’m not the person they thought they had become close to.

I can also promise that if I ever say that the proceeds of sales from my catalog of titles will go to a certain charity or cause, it will go there. If I ever solicit donations for a charity or cause, they will go where they were meant to go.

If I ever solicit donations to meet personal needs–well, I’m reasonably certain I’ll never solicit donations that will go to me personally. Except, perhaps–and by “perhaps” I mean I can’t envision ever actually doing it but never say never–if I need some funding to produce and self-publish a title that I can’t contract with a press. (*side-eyes Swatted*)

In other words, with me, what you see is what you get.

Except my real name. Most of you don’t get that. Whatevs.

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So much ethics: An anti-GamerGate rant @Veeren_Jubbal @INeedDivGms @ChrisWarcraft

Today, CypherofTyr, who started the #INeedDiverseGames tag on Twitter and eventual blogs and groups on various social media and gaming sites, posted this to Tumblr:

Please keep Veerender Jubbal in your thoughts. He’s been targeted by GG yet again but this could get him killed. A bathroom selfie was photoshopped to make it look like he was holding a Quran, wearing a bomb lined vest and for some odd reason, a dildo was added. An Italian news outlet has run the story as true sadly, but Buzzfeed (for once was useful) and called out the obvious photoshop.

It looks like a piss poor photoshop, and it’s a photo where he’s staring straight ahead which someone else couldn’t have taken. However news outlets are running this photo, and that piece of shit Milo Y of Brietbart/GG infamy is trying to harass him further by asking for an exclusive for Brietbart.

Veerender is a very young, sweet guy who’s only asking for equality in games and more representation of Sikh’s and brown men like him. For this, for his rightful anger he’s been targeted yet again. The incorrect party line of “he’s a Muslim terrorist” isn’t new but with the strong anti-Muslim vibe going on because of Paris right now, I am really, really worried for his safety. Not tagging him so I don’t bring hate to his FB.

If you follow him on twitter, please send some words of support, cute animal pics or something. I am very, very worried someone will believe that image is real and go after him.

They did this this weekend, AFTER Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris, for which ISIS has claimed responsibility. They did this in a time when anti-Islam sentiment is boiling over and Muslims all over the world are in danger of hate crimes.

It won’t matter that this innocent man is a Sikh. Many Sikhs have been subjected to hate crimes, especially since 9/11, because most people are too ignorant to realize that they’re not Muslims.

This is especially troubling because GamerGaters have been known to attempt murder-by-cop, in the form of something called swatting. Swatting is something that is done to a person who has been doxxed. The harasser makes some form of anonymous report to emergency services that something urgently bad is happening at a person’s address. Like, they’re holding a hostage or they’re waving a gun or whatever. This is done in the hopes that police will show up and bust down the target’s door with guns blazing.

Not that they’ll admit that is the goal, they claim it’s just harassment. But who living in the post-Ferguson world believes that it isn’t actually attempted murder? Especially since the targets of several notable incidences have been black or trans people (such as in this incident last year in Portland) both of whom have every reason to be afraid of being murdered by police.

(Ironically, a few months ago I started writing the sequel to Player vs. Player, called Swatted. My protag is of Middle Eastern descent. Guess what happens.)

For over a year now, I’ve been posting occasionally about GamerGate. GamerGate became a thing last August, just as I was finishing up edits to Player vs. Player (a book which was inspired by harassment of Jennifer Hepler, a writer who used to work on the Dragon Age franchise at BioWare) and Anita Sarkeesian, a media critic who runs a site called Feminist Frequency and does a Feminism 101-level critique of the portrayal of women in video games.

I’ve posted before about how I wrote Player vs. Player a year too early, because it wasn’t, in fact, informed by GamerGate. It just happened to be timely.

GamerGate claims to be about ethics in gaming journalism–which they basically define as preventing any gaming news outlets from posting any articles that might suggest in any way that women and minorities should receive better representation in video games. But here’s the truth about how it actually started.

TL;DR version: posts speculating about Zoe Quinn’s sex life kept getting deleted from legitimate gaming boards, and harassment posts kept getting deleted from other places. So the harassers decided they needed to try another tactic. Here are some of the posts leading up to these harassers deciding they were actually about “ethics in gaming journalism.”

(Extreme TW: Misogyny, misogynist slurs, homophobic slurs, harassment, bullying)

GG Zoe Quinn 01GG Zoe Quinn 02GG Zoe Quinn 03GG Zoe Quinn 04GG Zoe Quinn 05GG Zoe Quinn 06GG Zoe Quinn 07

So it’s completely well-documented that the “ethics in gaming journalism” was a deliberate ploy on the part of these guys to put a veneer of legitimacy on their campaign of harassment of women. The #GamerGate tag was invented, coined by Adam Baldwin, and began spreading all over Twitter.

In the aftermath, the harassment spread to Anita Sarkeesian, who was already misogynist gamers pin-up girl, and to a woman named Leigh Alexander, who posted an article in which she asserted “gamers” are over. You can read the post and see for yourself what her meaning was, but misogynist gamer dudebros didn’t look beyond the title, which they decided was an attack upon them and their identity, and they attacked back.

Then a game developer named Brianna Wu created a few memes mocking GamerGate. For that, she was driven from her home by death and rape threats. (TW: death threats, rape threats, extreme misogyny.)

In the process of crusading for “ethics in gaming journalism”, there has been a flurry of awful behavior. #GamerGate co-opted antisemitic propaganda images to smear Anita Sarkeesian. (TW: antisemitism)

(that’s a caricature of Anita Sarkessian)

(Source: Weev: Gamergate is “the biggest siren bringing people into the folds of white nationalism.”

They equated gamergaters to the #BlackLivesMatter protesters in Ferguson, and equated male gamers to black Americans in the Jim Crow era:

The GamerGate photoshop

The original image

Source: Things #GamerGaters Actually Believe, Part 294: Gamers are as oppressed as African Americans in the Jim Crow era

They created the #NotYourShield tag, which was supposed to prove they weren’t all white males, and then created sockpuppets posing as minorities to boost its population. Internet blackface.

(White nationalists are also claiming GamerGate is boosting their numbers. GamerGaters also frequently reference a trumped-up concept named Cultural Marxism, which is pretty much the next generation of the Nazi buzz phrase Cultural Bolshevism.)

A man named Davis Aurini, who outright confesses to being a white nationalist “on paper” partnered with another GamerGater to make a documentary called “The Sarkeesian Effect” and sought $15,000 per month for their trouble.

(This while accusing Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn and Brianna Wu of being “professional victims” capitalizing upon their harassment for sympathy and money. The irony astounds.)

They have committed ACTUAL acts of terrorism. In October 2014 Anita Sarkeesian had to cancel an appearance at Utah State University because someone threatened a campus massacre if she appeared (in the process referencing the actual 1989 massacre of several women on a campus in Montreal.)

This is on top of what Sarkeesian deals with on a daily basis.

When Felicia Day, popular actress and geek culture darling, timidly spoke up condemning GamerGate, they doxxed her. (Doxxing, for those who aren’t aware, is the publishing of a person’s personal and financial information–such as address, phone number, employer, family addresses, social security number, etc, for the purpose of harassment.)

Former NFL player and LGBTQIA+ rights activist Chris Kluwe, who had a couple days later posted an absolutely EPIC rant about #GamerGate, was also eventually doxxed. It is pathetic to note, however, that while Felicia Day was doxxed less than an hour after her post, it took them months to dox Kluwe. #GamerGate targets women much more aggressively than it does men.

They even spoke of trying to dox Brianna Wu’s veterinarian in the middle of the night as Brianna Wu waited at the vets with her dying dog. And then, of course, rejoiced and celebrated and harassed Brianna about her loss.

Last year, a Canadian teenager was arrested for swatting female gamers all over North America.

That’s not even close to the end of it.

The Venn diagram of GamerGaters and so-called Men’s Rights Activists isn’t quite a perfect circle, but I’d call it a short oval, at least. Paul Elam, leader of the MRA website A Voice For Men, initially voiced his support for GamerGate, but later seemed to walk to back. GamerGate is also supported by Roosh V, notorious pickup-artist who advocates for the legalization of rape (extreme TW: misogyny and rape apologia) and even confesses to committing rape (TW: rape descriptions).

The person who threatened the massacre if Anita Sarkeesian appeared at Utah State University referenced both GamerGate and repeated a lot of MRA rhetoric.

GamerGate also has a tremendous amount of overlap with neo-Nazi ideology. This really isn’t surprising. All three groups exist for the purpose of upholding white male supremacy, and they echo a lot of the same rhetoric.

For instance, ranting against the concept of so-called Cultural Marxism. The only difference between the three groups is MRAs blame feminists for it, white supremacists blame non-white people for it (as well as feminists), and GamerGaters blame “SJWs” (social justice warriors) for it.

It should be noted that “SJW” is pretty much the “all of the above” option, seeing as how it encompasses any oppressed group advocating for equality, including the groups that MRAs and white supremacists hate.

Here’s where it gets scary though:

Murder in the name of white supremacy is pretty much so universal that I’d be here for weeks listing them. Anders Behring Breivik springs to mind as one, but honestly it happens nearly every day in the US, frequently in the form of law enforcement killing black Americans.

MRAs has a history of celebrating men who murder women in the name of anti-feminism. They have stated Elliot Rodger would have been a hero if he’d just killed women and no men. They have blamed feminists for Rodger’s actions, because Rodger was an “incel” (involuntarily celibate) and because feminists engage in “creep shaming.”

Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot accused of crashing Germanwings Flight 9525, was called an incel hero and his actions an indication of the “beta uprising.” Vox Day, fantasy author and all-around horrible excuse for a human being, opines that Lubitz wouldn’t have crashed the plane if women and just jumped on his dick. MRAs also celebrated the recent massacre at Umpqua Community College.

PUA RooshV is so convinced that one day his followers will commit a massacre that he’s already formulating his response to it.

GamerGaters are already trying to commit murder obliquely with tactics such as swatting, and “raids” on sites such as Tumblr to attempt to harass depressed trans people into committing suicide.

How much longer before they go for the direct approach? Will someone have to actually die before these guys stop being handwaved off as just trolls?

They’ve just spread images of a Sikh man photoshopped to make him look like a terrorist. In the aftermath of a terrorist attack when the entire world is on a hair trigger. How can this be anything but attempted murder?

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Misogyny and discomfort with women’s sexuality

Yesterday, an anonymous gay man made a post about the fetishization and objectification of gay men in the m/m romance genre.

I won’t say he didn’t have some good points. He absolutely did. The fact that people in the m/m romance genre objectify and fetishize gay men is not a new one; it has come up repeatedly since I published my first book. It does exist, and it should really stop.

I also won’t say he tarred all women with the same brush, either. He included the obligatory “not all women” disclaimer. And I think if any woman reads that post and her response is “Not All Women!” then she’s doing exactly what she shouldn’t be doing and missing the point.

However, even though he made a good point, and even though he took care not to generalize, there is some deep misogyny in the post. And that’s not a new thing, either. It’s no surprise that some gay men are not exempt from misogyny. We live in a culture that actively works to undermine women, and no one is free of that influence, even women who are trying to overcome it.

As I mentioned in a comment to AJ Rose on Facebook, a lot of the fetishization and objectification I’ve seen in the genre actually happens outside the books, in the behavior of some readers and writers. In the presence of purely sex and phallus-driven stuff so prevalent at LGBTQ reader/writer conventions. At go-go boys and images of penises and nearly nude men in a space where the subject is supposed to be books.

But then he takes aim at the books themselves, and that bothers me. Because he acts as though all these books are about is the sex scenes, and that’s not true.

He says author’s portray men as “sex-crazed pigs.” It’s true a lot of books in the genre have characters who fuck around a lot. Usually the point of the book is for them to realize that that fucking around isn’t fulfilling them and that being with one person with whom they have an emotional connection is much more fulfilling. So if anything, the point of those stories is that men are NOT “sex-crazed pigs” but that they sometimes act that way for a number of factors.

Gay men are not exempt from the effects of toxic masculinity, which INSISTS that men must have high, aggressive sex drives, either. Nor are gay men exempt from hookup culture, which has spread throughout western society since the sexual revolution of the 60s. To ignore that would be to paint incomplete portraits of things gay men experience and deal with in our society.

Portraying that reality is only fetishization or objectification if the only point of it is to titillate. To portray it as part of a character’s journey is something else entirely. Especially when that portrayal involves the characters in question moving beyond those influences into something they find more satisfying with a single partner.

Now, I’m gonna throw a wacky, far-out concept out here. It’s sort of a big word, and Anonymous might want to write it down. The word is “storytelling.” It’s sort of a thing with authors. We’re kinda known for doing it.

Anonymous also lambasts the fact that protags in the story have sex with each other frequently. Again, that is only fetishization or objectification if it exists only to titillate. If it happens within the context of a new relationship forming, where the sexual energy is high because hello, the relationship is NEW, then it’s not fetishization or objectification. It’s simply portraying the very realistic experience of a newly-minted couple. It happens with m/f romance as well. Hell, it happens in real life. When my relationships were all new, we fucked like bunnies. It’s just a thing people do when they’re new and discovering one another sexually.

Okay, you say, those are valid points that Anonymous got wrong, but they’re not misogyny.

Well, here’s where it becomes misogyny:

He only smacks around the female readers and writers for it. Apparently it’s okay for male readers and writers to portray and enjoy these things, but not women.

As far as I can tell, according to Anonymous’s rant, the problem isn’t that these things EXIST. It’s that WOMEN ARE ENJOYING THEM EXISTING. That’s what he says is wrong with it all.

And that’s because we, as a culture, are very uncomfortable with women as sexual beings. See the phenomenon where women who willingly share nude selfies are whores and sluts and the pictures are disgusting, but a huge number of men in our society have an insatiable appetite for selfies that are shared without the woman’s consent.

Because it’s okay to enjoy women’s nude selfies, as long as they’re not shared and enjoyed willingly by the woman in question.

Men are allowed to propagate and consume sexuality. Women are not. And that, my friends, is bullshit. And it’s hypocrisy, and Anonymous should be ashamed for his lack of self-awareness.

We are uncomfortable with women’s sexuality on a societal level. And I say we because women are not exempt from this. It’s a product of the patriarchy which tells us that men’s sexuality is good and healthy and women’s sexuality is shameful and needs to be buried and repressed.


Even I, as sex-positive as I am, still struggle with it. The sight of (cis) women’s genitalia makes me squirm and not in the good way. Yonic imagery makes me uncomfortable, phallic imagery does not. It’s entirely possible that the reason I have gravitated toward m/m romance is because I find it easier to deal with male characters in a sexual context than female characters. Maybe. Back in my fandom days I wrote PLENTY of m/f erotica and erotic romance, so maybe not. Maybe m/m is just where I landed because it works for me as a writer at this stage of my personal development. Possibly the pendulum will swing the other way someday. Certainly I’m not in m/m romance for the money; I’d make far more money writing m/f.

Every day, as I evolve as a human being, I try to be aware of this influence and overcome it. I challenge myself daily to be as comfortable with the sight of a vulva as I am the sight of a penis. I struggle daily to find the same aesthetic value in f/f pictures and porn videos as I do in m/m pictures and porn.

That’s because I’m a self-aware human being, and I know that I am still under the influence of internalized misogyny.

Anonymous could do with a healthy dose of self-awareness. Because the problem made apparent by his post is not the problem he was ranting about.

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Get the complete STRAIN series for only $13.99 during @RiptideBooks anniversary celebration! #postapocalyptic #mmromance

For Riptide’s 4th Anniversary, they’re offering Strain: The Complete Collection for only $13.99. Which basically means you’re getting a book completely free. Get it while you can!

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The BANE blog tour is making its final stops today, with the last chapter of REFUGE, a free STRAIN-universe short!

I’m leaving in a few hours for Seattle, so I’m afraid I won’t have a chance to make this post later, even though one of the stops for the tour hasn’t been posted yet.

Today on the BANE blog tour, I’ll be sharing the final chapter of REFUGE. REFUGE is a sweet beginning to an trans romance set close to 30 years after BANE. There’s a chance it may be the basis for a continuation of the STRAIN universe, but we’ll have to see what the muse decides about that.

Yesterday, Kal and Billie resolved some of Billie’s misunderstandings about the Wapato Island Refuge and they set off with Zeus on their journey. Billie begins to understand how much she enjoys being with Kal, but is the time right for them?

You can find the installments for today at the following stops:

Smart Girls Love SciFi (Part 1)
BookLover Sue (Part 2)
TTC Books and More (Part 3)

I’m also making a spotlight stop at Rainbow Gold Reviews with another chance to enter the drawing for some Riptide store credit.

Thanks so much for joining me on the tour! If you need to catch up on REFUGE, you can find the previous installments here (or you can check out the Extras tab on the BANE page at Riptide):

My Fiction Nook (Part 1)
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words (Part 2)

3 Chicks After Dark
(Part 1)
Book Reviews and More by Kathy (Part 2)
The Jeep Diva (Part 3)

Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents
(Part 1)
GGR Reviews (Part 2)
Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews (Part 3–please ignore the text labeling it Chapter 2, Part 3.)

Prism Book Alliance (Part 1)
Love Bytes Reviews (Part 2)
Butterfly-o-Meter (Part 3)

Remember that you can comment at each stop to enter to win some Riptide store credit!

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It’s Day 4 of the BANE blog tour! That means Chapter 4 of REFUGE, a free STRAIN-universe short!

Today is the fourth day of the BANE blog tour, and we’re bringing you Chapter 4 of REFUGE.

REFUGE is a sweet beginning to an trans romance set close to 30 years after BANE. There’s a chance it may be the basis for a continuation of the STRAIN universe, but we’ll have to see what the muse decides about that.

Yesterday, Kal and Billie started to get to know each other, but Billie’s desire to find a home outside the Clean Zone where she won’t be an outcast conflicts with her fear of Kal’s people in the Wapato Island Refuge and the horrible things she’s been told about them and their settlement all her life. Today they start to pick through the truths and the lies, to decide if Billie can ever feel safe there.

You can find the installments for today at the following stops:

Prism Book Alliance (Chapter Four, Part 1)
Love Bytes Reviews (Chapter Four, Part 2)
Butterfly-o-Meter (Chapter Four, Part 3)

Be sure to check back tomorrow for the final chapter! If you need to catch up on REFUGE, you can find the previous installments here:

My Fiction Nook (Part 1)
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words (Part 2)

3 Chicks After Dark
(Part 1)
Book Reviews and More by Kathy (Part 2)
The Jeep Diva (Part 3)

Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents
(Part 1)
GGR Reviews (Chapter 3, Part 2)
Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews (Chapter 3, Part 3–please ignore the text labeling it Chapter 2, Part 3.)

Remember that you can comment at each stop to enter to win some Riptide store credit!


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It’s Day 3 of the BANE blog tour, with two new installments of REFUGE, a STRAIN-universe short! #postapocalyptic #mmromance

Day 3 of the BANE blog tour brings you the conclusion of Chapter 3 of REFUGE. REFUGE is a sweet beginning to an trans romance set close to 30 years after BANE. There’s a chance it may be the basis for a continuation of the STRAIN universe, but we’ll have to see what the muse decides about that.

Yesterday, Kal helped Billie out of the derelict building she was stuck in (and if you were paying attention you might have an idea of just how Kal relates to your faves from STRAIN and BANE.) Today you learn a little about what’s happening on the political front in the aftermath of BANE (don’t worry, spoilers are minimal and only very general.) You also learn how Zeus got his name!

You can find the installments for today at the following stops:

GGR Reviews (Chapter 3, Part 2)
Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews (Chapter 3, Part 3–please ignore the text labeling it Chapter 2, Part 3.)

There’s also an excerpt from BANE at MM Good Book Reviews.

If you need to catch up on REFUGE, you can find the previous installments here:

My Fiction Nook (Part 1)
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words (Part 2)

3 Chicks After Dark
(Part 1)
Book Reviews and More by Kathy (Part 2)
The Jeep Diva (Part 3)

Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents
(Part 1)

Remember that you can comment at each stop to enter to win some Riptide store credit!

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The BANE blog tour continues, with Chapter 2 of REFUGE and more! #postapocalyptic #mmromance

Today the Bane blog tour has four stops, each one with a segment of REFUGE, the sweet (no sex) beginning of an MtF/M romance set some years after Bane. It’s possible it may someday be the concept for another full novel in the Strain universe, though I make no promises at this point.

Yesterday you met Billie, a transwoman in a bit of trouble. If you missed them, yesterday’s segments were:

My Fiction Nook (Chapter 1, Part 1)
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words (Chapter 1, Part 2)

Today you get to meet Kal and perhaps more importantly, Zeus!

3 Chicks After Dark (Chapter 2, Part 1)
Book Reviews and More by Kathy (Chapter 2, Part 2)
The Jeep Diva (Chapter 2, Part 3)

Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents (Chapter 3, Part 1)

Be sure to comment at each stop for a chance to win Riptide credit, and check in tomorrow for more segments of REFUGE.


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Kicking off the BANE Blog Tour! Check out the first few installments of REFUGE, a STRAIN-universe short!

Today we’re kicking off the BANE blog tour with four stops.

Segments of REFUGE, a feel-good (yes, you heard that right, I can write fluff!) STRAIN-universe short, can be found at the following stops:

My Fiction Nook (Chapter 1, Part 1)
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words (Chapter 1, Part 2)

I’m also stopping by:

On Top Down Under
Coffee and Porn in the Morning

Comment at all of these stops for a chance to win store credit from Riptide!

BANE is now also available for purchase on the following sites:

Barnes & Noble
All Romance eBooks

Be sure to keep following the BANE blog tour each day for more chances to enter to win Riptide store credit, and further installments of REFUGE.


The weapon that nearly destroyed humanity may be their only salvation.

Rhys Cooper’s unique immunity to all three strains of the virus that nearly annihilated humanity has brought him the unwanted attention of Clean Zone scientists. They’ve summoned him for testing—ostensibly in the hopes of finding a vaccine—but Rhys’s partner, Darius Murrell, has good reason not to trust any government. He and his comrades in Delta Company were unwitting test subjects for Project Juggernaut, the military experiment that gave them superhuman abilities and unleashed the pandemic. Doubting the government’s intentions, Delta Company refuses to let Rhys go alone.

Fear of infection has kept Zach Houtman and his lover Nico Fernández apart for a decade. They meet rarely, just long enough to coordinate their spying on the head of the government’s virus research division. Secretary Littlewood is a vicious predator, and they suspect he’s trying to acquire the strain of the virus that would make him superhuman. To stop him, they need the perfect bait: Rhys.

For Rhys, helping them might cost him his relationship with Darius—or his life. For Zach and Nico, even if their plan succeeds, they still face the ultimate question: can infected and uninfected people ever live together safely?

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BANE is live on Amazon! #postapocalyptic #mmromance

Bane_500x750For those of you who rely on Kindle, BANE has gone live on Amazon. B&N, Kobo, et. al. will no doubt be trickling out over the next 24 hours or so.

Also, today is your last chance to get STRAIN for $.99, so if you haven’t already, take advantage of that!

And be sure not to miss the BANE blog tour kicking off tomorrow. I’ll be sharing a short (and very sweet, for those of you who doubted I could do stories without smut) story from the STRAIN universe, called REFUGE. It’s set quite some time post-BANE, but any spoilers are only of the most general sort.

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Get BANE tonight @RiptideBooks! #postapocalyptic #mmromance #sequel

Bane_500x750Tonight at midnight Eastern, BANE will be available for anyone who has pre-ordered from Riptide! Guys I’m so excited to have you all visit with Rhys and Darius (and Zach and Nico) again!

Also, STRAIN is available for $0.99 for a short time from Amazon, B&N, Kobo, and Itunes. If you weren’t already aware, BANE is best enjoyed after you’ve read both JUGGERNAUT and STRAIN (in whichever order you prefer.) So this is a great opportunity to catch up on where we left Darius and Rhys off before you jump back into their story with BANE.


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Get STRAIN for only $0.99 just in time for BANE! #postapocalyptic #mmromance


For a limited time, STRAIN is on sale for $0.99 at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo (maybe elsewhere? If so I haven’t found it yet.) Be sure to grab it before BANE comes out next week! (and don’t forget to check out JUGGERNAUT while you’re at it!)

Barnes & Noble

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TWO WEEKS UNTIL RHYS AND DARIUS ARE BACK! #bane #postapocalyptic #mmromance @riptidebooks

Bane_500x750If you have pre-ordered Bane from Riptide, in two weeks from today you can reconnect with Darius and Rhys from Strain, and also finally find out how things turn out for Nico and Zach from Juggernaut.

I’m so excited!

I will say, Bane will be best understood if you’ve read both Strain and Juggernaut, so you also still have time to catch up on those.

As luck would have it, this weekend All Romance eBooks is having a 30% rebate sale. On other words, when you buy any book from the series (including pre-ordering Bane) you get 30% store credit from ARe to spend on more books!

Keep an eye out, I believe Riptide will also be having a sale on Strain in the near future to celebrate the release of Bane!


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The World of JUGGERNAUT: The Corporate Tenements

Juggernaut_500x750This is a post I originally shared during the Juggernaut blog tour when I stopped over at Prism Book Alliance. Some of the posts contained really important and interesting world-building background, so I thought I would share them again after the blog tour was over for people who might have missed them.

Envisioning the Future: The Corporate Tenements

If you follow me on Tumblr or elsewhere, or if you’ve read my book Player vs. Player, it’s pretty obvious that I take an active interest in politics and social justice issues. And one of the issues that keeps coming up in the current political dialogue is the fact that unrestrained capitalism has not turned out to be the positive, freedom-assuring force that it’s packaged and sold to the public as being. But with so much of the world population brainwashed into believing it’s a good thing, its preeminence doesn’t seem likely to change anytime soon.

So when I envisioned the future world of Juggernaut, my starting point really had to be: what would the world—or at least the United States—look like with capitalism run completely amok?

It actually wasn’t that difficult to imagine, and I took a lot of my queues from the past, before labor regulations and unionization put constraints on employers and ensured fair treatment of workers.

Particularly, I looked to the coal mining camps of the latter 19th century before unionization. It’s hard for us to truly grasp just how completely a company could own a person, but the coal mining operations are one example where employers really did have that much control.

Coal mining towns and camps were often very isolated, and very enclosed. Miners were frequently paid in whole or in part using scrip, or a currency accepted only at the company store. Since prices at the company store were often very inflated, this meant scrip had considerably less value than the same amount of cash would have. Because of their isolation, however, miners had no choice but to buy their supplies at the company store, which kept them in perpetual poverty.

Many miners were responsible for buying the supplies needed to make the mines safe, such as timber for shoring up the walls (which, of course, they would have to buy from the company.) Miners were also paid by the tonnage they produced, rather than for the hours worked. This means that any time they took out of extracting coal to shore up the mine shafts or take other safety measures would reduce their productivity and therefore their income. The company could disavow all responsibility in the event of a collapse, since safety was the miners’ responsibility and the miners had shirked it.

The company also owned the miners’ housing. Which meant any complaints or attempts at unionizing could leave one homeless in addition to being unemployed. Security guards were more to keep union organizers out—with full legal authority to use lethal force if they found union organizers trying to infiltrate the camp—than to protect the miners and their families.

How could one ever become prosperous or get out of poverty under such conditions?

This was the template I used for life in the corporate tenements which are frequently mentioned in Juggernaut.

In the world of Juggernaut, corporate retail and service industry giants and large factory manufacturers have been taking PR dings for the fact that their employees are on public assistance, and one of the ways in which they combat this is to build or buy large apartment complexes in which they would provide employees with company subsidized housing and transportation to and from the workplace. Rent can be deducted from their wages, and credit extended against future earnings if an employee falls behind, keeping employees perpetually in debt to their employers.

The tenements are often run-down, with sanitation, maintenance, and safety problems. Employees who report problems within their apartments will often find themselves accused of damaging the property and will be charged for repairs.

The company store sees a resurgence, in the form of an arrangement where second-run, expired, and otherwise unsaleable goods are made available to employees (again, on credit against future wages if an employee can’t afford groceries that week.) Because transportation to and from the workplace is provided, many employees have no means of getting out of the tenements. Security is provided more for the PR value of keeping crime down within the tenements than for the safety of the employees, and the security forces are private rather than public police, employed by the company and their enforcement is conducted with the interests of the corporation, rather than the employees, in mind. In the insular colonies that the tenements become, the security guards are little more than armed toughs. Disputes are supposed to be handled by the resident superintendent, who also works for the corporation.

By this point in the future, all internet access is via communications satellites and in the tenements that access goes through a company-owned hub. This means any unrest or attempts to organize for better workers’ rights within the tenement can be monitored and sanctioned. Negative reports or documentation of life inside the tenements can be filtered to quash any negative publicity.

News from outside the tenement can likewise be filtered, particularly if it’s going to stir up dissent. This can particularly influence political expression within the tenements; positive information about candidate who will not act in the corporations’ best interests can be restricted, while propaganda for candidates who will serve corporate interests can flourish. Since employees lack transportation to voting sites, as a supposed “service” a proxy system is established—sort of the electoral college writ small—where a representative of the tenement can vote for the entire tenement. That representative is, of course, employed by the corporation.

Being fired or evicted means a negative recommendation from both employer and landlord. This makes finding other employment particularly difficult, and losing one’s job is an effective guarantee of perpetual unemployment and homelessness.

Non-corporate housing is a luxury reserved for the few people who work in industries or institutions where this sort of corporate control can’t in practicality exist. Since the middle class is almost completely gone, the vast majority of America’s workers live under these conditions.

Interestingly—considering how much effort went into world-building this particular concept—both of my protagonists come from privileged upbringings outside the corporate tenements. But they both have views inside the situation, Zach through his work with the homeless and impoverished, and Nico through his mother, who was raised in the tenements and found a way to get herself out.

This is perhaps an exaggerated vision of what the future of America may be, but it’s not a completely implausible one. It’s rather bleak and grim to consider, but it helps explain how there is so little oversight or control of the military R&D operations that resulted in Project Juggernaut. With so large a portion of the voting public removed from any actual position where they can influence things, public opinion would have little to no sway on things such as bioweapons development.

Originally shared over at Prism Book Alliance

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Leftist ableism, misinformation, #GamerGate, and the deliberately constructed decline of critical thought

If you followed me on Tumblr you know that a pet peeve of mine lately has been progressives using ableist language when making their points. You would also know that several times recently, I’ve had to deliberately counter leftist misinformation that makes its way across my dash.

And if you have read Player vs. Player or even skimmed the book jacket, you can probably guess that the GamerGate debacle is something I take very seriously, though that book was finalized before #GamerGate became a thing.

Would it surprise you to know that #GamerGate is a movement comprised of a significant number of left-leaning and leftist libertarian people?

Seen in that light, it makes a certain amount of sense that a great deal of #GamerGate’s rhetoric (even when they’re not maliciously harassing people) defaults to the use of ableist language.

I admit, the last election cycle, I was not aware of the left’s frequent reliance on ableist language. In the years since, I’ve had my eyes opened to a lot of things I hadn’t seen before, and perhaps that’s resulted in a sort of hypersensitivity to it. Mostly, it’s that I find myself time and again having to choose NOT to share articles, opinion pieces, and memes that otherwise make very valid points because of the use of ableist language. Progressives have no problem dismissing right-winger’s as “idiots” and call right-wing ideas “crazy,” “insane,” “lame,” and “stupid.” For a group of people who pride themselves on their open-minded ideas, the left has been extremely reluctant to stop using this language.

Now, of course, we see that a significant chunk of leftist #GamerGaters call themselves libertarians, which is a whole other kettle of fish from actually being progressive. Libertarians are, on the whole, people who like to pat themselves on the back for being tolerant enough not to care about things other people do that don’t personally affect them–such as having abortions or marrying someone of the same sex–but don’t see any reason why they should give up their racism, sexism, classism, transphobia and ableism. They’re conservatives who are minimally self-aware enough to want to avoid the shame of being blatant bigots, but they don’t actually want anything to change, so attempt to slip their bigotry in under the radar with a self-congratulatory veneer of open-mindedness. So there’s that.

When confronted by someone who points out this disconnect, the illusion evaporates and they quickly default to blatant racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, and ableism, however. Which is #GamerGate in a nutshell. It’s a bunch of misogynists railing against the notion of change (specifically in the gaming industry and geek culture) while claiming they’re left-leaning because they generously permit women to have abortions. Meanwhile they spew a bunch of sexist vitriol, death threats, rape threats, sexual harassment, gendered slurs, and even deliberately organized campaigns to try to trigger dysphoria in at-risk trans people in an attempt to induce them to commit suicide.

Thus it would be really easy to dismiss them under the “no true Scotsman” fallacy, and give the rest of the left a pass on their more discreet forms of ableism. #GamerGate thinks nothing of using the r-word against people they disagree with–which for the rest of the left is just Going Too Far (though it wouldn’t be if, of all people, Sarah Palin hadn’t pointed it out very publicly–while unironically using the term “lamestream media.”) The r-word is basically a slur so offensive that the rest of the left won’t touch it. Instead, they default to more socially acceptable variations on the theme like “idiotic” and “insane.”

But here’s the thing. The right is neither idiotic nor insane. What they are is a group of people who are lacking in critical thinking skills.

That’s not a congenital deficit (unless it actually is, when taking into consideration people who are severely learning or developmentally disabled.) Critical thinking skills are something that are learned in the course of a well-rounded education, and thus can be acquired by anyone (except for those who literally lack the faculties to acquire them due to the aforementioned disabilities.)

And what we’ve seen for decades from the right–and this includes libertarians whose conceit is that they are “fiscally conservative but socially liberal”–is a concerted effort to deny people a well-rounded education.

They make a college education too expensive to afford without incurring enormous amounts of debt and then refuse to lower the interest rate on that debt.

They cut funding for educational programming on PBS, which poor families often rely on because they can’t afford cable. They cut funding for Head Start programs. They cut school budgets so that there are fewer teachers per student, and cut lunch and welfare programs that enable students to learn better because they’re not going hungry.

They construct curricula that neglect accurate and truthful education on the subjects of history and social studies and science. They are outright antipathetic to arts programs, despite the fact that scientific studies have repeatedly proven that children who receive arts education do better in most or all “core” subjects, particularly math, which then impacts the ability to learn science.

They continually, in ways both implicit and explicit, deride being educated or anything that smacks of “intellectualism,” dismissing it as being elitist.

It has repeatedly been demonstrated that educated people overwhelmingly tend to vote left. This is because educated people are people with sound critical thinking skills. They can look at the problems facing society, deconstruct what has created those problems, and promote rational, logical solutions that are backed by sound science. People without critical thinking skills tend to vote based upon emotion, scare tactics, and buzzwords, things that the right is very good at and relies on hugely in the absence of genuine solutions to our problems.

(Golly, that sure makes it look like the right’s attempts to prevent people receiving an education look like a well-choreographed, decades-long campaign to create a populace largely incapable of critical thought, doesn’t it?)

Which is why you get people outraged about Planned Parenthood is “selling baby parts” (which doesn’t happen) and then railing about their tax dollars paying for abortions (which also doesn’t happen.)

It’s why we can somehow pin all our fear of terrorist violence on Muslim people despite the fact that white American men are vastly more likely to carry out terrorist attacks on American citizens. It’s also why we can simultaneously scream to the high heavens that it’s unconstitutional to deny those white American men easy access to firearms but perfectly constitutional to detain, brutalize, and carry out invasive searches of Muslims and/or black Americans who have done nothing more illegal than buying an airline ticket or failing to obey a minor traffic law (if even that.)

It’s why people can convince themselves that a college-bound high school graduate who committed absolutely no crime is a “demonic” thug who deserved his own murder but the policeman who murdered him is a hero who deserves a million dollars in crowdfunding money.

It’s why the people who hold the vast majority of financial and political and media power in the US can unironically contend that they’re being oppressed because someone says “happy holidays” or suggests that they shouldn’t appropriate non-white cultures.

Which brings me the second subject I raised way up there in the first paragraph. In addition to the left’s not-so-subtle default to ableism, I’m seeing repeated instances of misinformation crossing my dash. Not nearly as many–or nearly as blatant–as the right, of course, but it’s very insidious.

Like this post from a couple days ago. A point of misinformation in the middle of an otherwise well-thought-out and factual argument is a rotten able that will taint the whole barrel.

Some may argue that, in a society that has deliberately been denied the ability to think critically, relying on appeals to emotion, buzzwords, and outrage generated on false premises–as opposed to accurately educating people about the issues–is the only way the left can win. But are we really still progressives if we do that?

TL;DR–if you pride yourself on being progressive but default to ableist language to further your agenda, you’re behaving no better than the sexist troglodytes of #GamerGate. And if you consider yourself progressive but you resort to tactics which bypass the requirement for critical thought (and would fail the test of critical thought if applied) you’re no better than FOX News.

Either way, knock it off.

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Enter to win an early copy of BANE on the JUGGERNAUT blog tour! @BookReviewsMore @3ChicksAftrDark @AllIWantnMore

It’s the final day of the JUGGERNAUT blog tour!

You can still comment on all the the posts for a chance to win an early copy of BANE until August 15th, so if you’re chomping at the bit for the next book, stop by and strike up a conversation about JUGGERNAUT or the STRAIN universe in general.

You really don’t want to miss today’s stops in the tour. Over at Book Reviews and More by Kathy I share some thoughts on my inspirations for what the end of the world looks like, and some notable differences. I share an excerpt from JUGGERNAUT over at 3 Chicks After Dark, and at All I Want and More Books I discuss a major setting for some of the action in JUGGERNAUT, the quarantine camps.

Thank you so much to all the amazing blogs that have hosted my tour this week. See you in September for the BANE blog tour!

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On day 4 of the JUGGERNAUT blog tour, learn more about life before the end of the world! #postapocalyptic #mmromance @RiptideBooks

Today I’m over at Prism Book Alliance with an article about an important part of life before the Bane virus wipes out most of humanity: economics and the living conditions of the masses. I’m also stopping by Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words and Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents with more chances to enter to win a copy of Bane before it hits the shelves. Come join me!

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Day 3 of the JUGGERNAUT blog tour! More deleted scenes! @LGBT_Reviews @ScottBFLL #postapocalyptic #mmromance #RiptideBooks

Today is the third day of the JUGGERNAUT blog tour, complete with more chances to win one of three pre-release copies of BANE.

I’m over at Rainbow Gold Reviews today with a deleted scene from Juggernaut, and with another deleted scene over at Gay Guy Reading and Friends. I’ll also be making a stop by Natural Bri, though the post doesn’t appear to be up yet. Keep checking back because each time you leave a comment, you get another chance to enter the drawing.

Enjoy! I’ll be back tomorrow to let you know what you’ll find on the next stops!

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Where to buy JUGGERNAUT


So the various ebook retailers have been getting Juggernaut up on their own time, and now it’s fairly complete, so if you have a preferred site, here are the links:

Riptide Publishing (please remember that more of the sales price goes to the publisher and author if you use Riptide’s own site, thus enabling them to keep making books!)
Barnes & Noble
All Romance eBooks (also, Riptide has a 25% rebate going on at ARe right now, which makes this a great opportunity to pick up other Riptide titles you’ve been hankering for, or to pre-order Bane)

So there you go!

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It’s Day 2 of the JUGGERNAUT blog tour! Win an early copy of BANE! @lovebytesreview @MMGoodBookRevie @thejeepdiva @RiptideBooks

Hi and welcome to Day 2 of the Juggernaut Blog Tour! Be sure to follow along and comment at each stop for one of three chances to win a free copy of BANE before it hits the shelves!

Today I’m sharing a deleted scene from Juggernaut over at The Jeep Diva, and a sneak peek at Bane on Love Bytes Reviews. I’ll also be sharing an excerpt at MM Good Book Reviews!

Enjoy the free reads!

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Kicking off the JUGGERNAUT blog tour! @ TTCBooksandMore @SinfullySexyB @cupoporn @ontopdownunder1

Hi and welcome to the JUGGERNAUT blog tour! Be sure to comment at each stop along the way for one of three chances to win an early copy of BANE.

Today I’ll be sharing a sneak peek at BANE, the sequel to JUGGERNAUT and STRAIN, over at Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews. You’ll also find spotlight stops at TTC Books and More, On Top Down Under, and Coffee and Porn in the Morning. Come along and get your apocalypse on!

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Juggernaut is live at Amazon! #postapocalyptic #mmromance @RiptideBooks


Juggernaut is up at Amazon!


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Speaking of @AllRomance… #Juggernaut #Bane #Rebate #postapocalyptic #mmromance @RiptideBooks

Juggernaut_500x750Bane_500x750While we’re on the subject of, apparently they are having one of their 50% rebate events today to celebrate the launch of their new app. Furthermore, Bane is available for pre-order there, which means if you were planning to buy Juggernaut or order Bane, this is a great chance to get 50% of the purchase price back in store credit.

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Juggernaut is now available @AllRomance #postapocalyptic #mmromance @RiptideBooks

Juggernaut is up for sale at All Romance eBooks. If you buy through Amazon, B&N or elsewhere, hang in there, it will be live by Monday!

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Scavenging in the Post-Apocalyptic World Guest Post

As I mentioned in my post on Monday, this week the But What Are They Eating blog is featuring Strain in their FoodFic Friday feature! The post is live now, so head on over!

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