Tag Archives: gay romance

Get my titles at a great #discount during @riptidebooks end-of-year blowout sale!

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Now until the end of the year, Riptide is having an incredible blowout sale and you can grab all of my backlist titles for a terrific discount!

The Laird’s Forbidden Lover — $0.99
The Professor’s Rule – The Complete Collection — $3.99 (individual titles are also discounted if you’re just missing some of the series)
Player vs. Player — $2.99
Strain — $2.99
Bane — $3.99
Juggernaut — $4.99
Saugatuck Summer — $2.99

Be sure to grab anything you’re missing from your library from any of Riptide’s other great authors as well!

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BANE, the sequel to JUGGERNAUT and STRAIN, is available @NetGalley #postapocalyptic #mmromance @RiptideBooks

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BANE, the sequel to JUGGERNAUT and STRAIN, is now available for reviewers at NetGalley!

Also, if you have been wanting to get the paperbacks of any of my previous releases, the paperbacks for Strain, Saugatuck Summer, and Player vs. Player are all discounted this week at Riptide!

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Coming this week: The JUGGERNAUT and BANE cover reveal!

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Finally, at long last, you’ll get your first look at the covers for my upcoming titles in the Strain series, Juggernaut and Bane (link for Bane is not yet active but will be soon)!

This coming Thursday, May 14, JoyfullyJay will be hosting the big cover reveal! Be sure not to miss it!

Juggernaut

They helped destroy the world. Now they have to survive the new one.

For rentboy Nico Fernández, it’s a simple job: seduce a presidential advisor to help cement approval to launch Project Juggernaut. He’s done similar work for General Logan McClosky before, and manipulating people for his favorite client beats the hell out of being trafficked for slave wages in some corporate brothel.

Zach Houtman feels called to work with the most vulnerable outcasts of society. But his father, the Reverend Maurice Houtman, insists that Zach work for him instead as he runs for Senate. Zach reluctantly agrees, but is horrified to see his father leave behind Christ’s mandate of love and mercy to preach malicious zealotry and violence instead. Zach even starts to suspect his father is working with fundamentalist terrorists.

When Project Juggernaut accidentally unleashes a deadly plague that claims billions of lives, Nico and Zach are thrown together, each bearing a burden of guilt. With only each other for safety and solace, they must make their way through a new world, one where the handful of people left alive are willing to do anything—and kill anyone—to survive.

Bane

The unstoppable 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?

As you can see, Juggernaut is actually a prequel to Strain, though the two are stand-alone and can be read in any order. Bane is a sequel entwining storylines involving characters from both books. In order of release, the sequence will be Strain, Juggernaut, and Bane. In chronological order within the universe, the reading order will be Juggernaut, Strain, and Bane. Either way works.

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Fan Favorite Training Season by Leta Blake is 50% Off For May! #mmromance #gay

If you like cowboys, figure skaters, kinky m/m smut, and heartbreakingly sweet love stories and haven’t read Training Season yet, do it now!

Leta Blake

50% off for May! 50% off at Amazon for May! Click to purchase!

In advance of the release of Training Complex (Training Season #2), I’ve decided to put the first book up for 50% off! The sale price is available on Amazon or with the following code on Smashwords.

Training Season on Smashwords
SW25E

Training Season on Amazon

The story of figure skater Matty Marcus and rancher Rob Lovely has been a fan favorite for several years now.

  • “Does Training Season by Leta Blake live up to all it’s crazy hype? IT SO DOES!” – Breann, Boy Meets Boy Reviews
  • “A tale told with such flair and tenderness, and with such insight into the two main characters that I will read it over and over again.” – Susan Mac Nicol, The Romance Review Site
  • “If you are looking something real with passion that leaps off the pages, read this book. Now. You will…

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WIP-ish Wednesday: Zach’s Choice

Back before the release of Strain, I was posting regular snippets for writerly-type themed days like Seven-Sentence Sunday and whatnot, and I sort of got out of the habit of that. I thought I would try to get back into it.

Technically, Juggernaut isn’t a WIP, but I’m not going to restrict myself on those grounds. I’m just going to set Wednesday aside as a day to introduce people to characters and concepts from Juggernaut, Bane, and maybe some of my already released books they’re not familiar with.

For those of you who aren’t already aware, Juggernaut is a prequel, set roughly ten years before Strain, in which we see the events immediately preceding and following the apocalyptic pandemic from the perspective of two men who are tangentially involved in those events. For a nearly five chapter long excerpt please check out the Juggernaut product page at Riptide Publishing. (note: please read the warnings and additional details tabs and/or be advised that the excerpt may contain objectionable or triggering material.)

Juggernaut_Teaser3D

They helped destroy the world. Now they have to survive the new one.

For rentboy Nico Fernández, it’s a simple job: seduce a presidential advisor to help cement approval to launch Project Juggernaut. He’s done similar work for General Logan McClosky before, and manipulating people for his favorite client beats the hell out of being trafficked for slave wages in some corporate brothel.

Zach Houtman feels called to work with the most vulnerable outcasts of society. But his father, the Reverend Maurice Houtman, insists that Zach work for him instead as he runs for Senate. Zach reluctantly agrees, but is horrified to see his father leave behind Christ’s mandate of love and mercy to preach malicious zealotry and violence instead. Zach even starts to suspect his father is working with fundamentalist terrorists.

When Project Juggernaut accidentally unleashes a deadly plague that claims billions of lives, Nico and Zach are thrown together, each bearing a burden of guilt. With only each other for safety and solace, they must make their way through a new world, one where the handful of people left alive are willing to do anything—and kill anyone—to survive.

In this scene, rentboy Nico Fernandez has been sheltering in a garden shed in Zach Houtman’s backyard. Zach’s has held his zealot of a father, Maurice, off from driving Nico away at gunpoint. Now Maurice has locked Zach in and is trying to drive Nico away, and Zach is faced with a choice: does he stay and weather the post-pandemic world with his abusive father and brother, or does he risk the safety of numbers and shelter to strike out with Nico?

You can see last week’s excerpt here.

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Earth Day rebate on all my titles over at All Romance Ebooks @allromance #books

Today, All Romance eBooks is having an Earth Day special, offering a 50% rebate on most of their titles, including all of mine.

This means you can get Impulse: The Complete Trilogy for $4.00 after rebate. Same goes for The Professor’s Rule: The Complete Collection.

The Laird’s Forbidden Lover is less than $1.00.

Player vs. Player and Strain are $3.50 after rebate. And Saugatuck Summer is only $2.27

(again, these prices are after rebate, not upon checkout. You can turn around and use your ebook bucks to buy more books!)

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WIP(ish) Wednesday: McClosky’s Revelation

Back before the release of Strain, I was posting regular snippets for writerly-type themed days like Seven-Sentence Sunday and whatnot, and I sort of got out of the habit of that. I thought I would try to get back into it.

Technically, Juggernaut isn’t a WIP, but I’m not going to restrict myself on those grounds. I’m just going to set Wednesday aside as a day to introduce people to characters and concepts from Juggernaut, Bane, and maybe some of my already released books they’re not familiar with.

For those of you who aren’t already aware, Juggernaut is a prequel, set roughly ten years before Strain, in which we see the events immediately preceding and following the apocalyptic pandemic from the perspective of two men who are tangentially involved in those events. For a nearly five chapter long excerpt please check out the Juggernaut product page at Riptide Publishing. (note: please read the warnings and additional details tabs and/or be advised that the excerpt may contain objectionable or triggering material.)

Juggernaut_Teaser3D

They helped destroy the world. Now they have to survive the new one.

For rentboy Nico Fernández, it’s a simple job: seduce a presidential advisor to help cement approval to launch Project Juggernaut. He’s done similar work for General Logan McClosky before, and manipulating people for his favorite client beats the hell out of being trafficked for slave wages in some corporate brothel.

Zach Houtman feels called to work with the most vulnerable outcasts of society. But his father, the Reverend Maurice Houtman, insists that Zach work for him instead as he runs for Senate. Zach reluctantly agrees, but is horrified to see his father leave behind Christ’s mandate of love and mercy to preach malicious zealotry and violence instead. Zach even starts to suspect his father is working with fundamentalist terrorists.

When Project Juggernaut accidentally unleashes a deadly plague that claims billions of lives, Nico and Zach are thrown together, each bearing a burden of guilt. With only each other for safety and solace, they must make their way through a new world, one where the handful of people left alive are willing to do anything—and kill anyone—to survive.

In this scene, rentboy Nico Fernandez has just learned the “special jobs” he’s been doing for General Logan McClosky have had an unforeseen–and catastrophic–consequence.

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Now available for pre-order: Juggernaut, A Strain Novel

Juggernaut_Teaser3D

Juggernaut, the prequel to Strain, is finally available for pre-order at Riptide Publishing!

They helped destroy the world. Now they have to survive the new one.

For rentboy Nico Fernández, it’s a simple job: seduce a presidential advisor to help cement approval to launch Project Juggernaut. He’s done similar work for General Logan McClosky before, and manipulating people for his favorite client beats the hell out of being trafficked for slave wages in some corporate brothel.

Zach Houtman feels called to work with the most vulnerable outcasts of society. But his father, the Reverend Maurice Houtman, insists that Zach work for him instead as he runs for Senate. Zach reluctantly agrees, but is horrified to see his father leave behind Christ’s mandate of love and mercy to preach malicious zealotry and violence instead. Zach even starts to suspect his father is working with fundamentalist terrorists.

When Project Juggernaut accidentally unleashes a deadly plague that claims billions of lives, Nico and Zach are thrown together, each bearing a burden of guilt. With only each other for safety and solace, they must make their way through a new world, one where the handful of people left alive are willing to do anything—and kill anyone—to survive.

Stay tuned for a reveal of the full cover art soon!

Zach and Nico’s story pre-dates Rhys and Darius’s, and the events of Juggernaut encompass the beginning of the pandemic for which we see the aftermath in Strain. Reading them in order, however, is not necessary. Both Zach, Nico, Rhys and Darius will ALL be back in Bane, the sequel to Strain (more news about that coming soon!)

More about the Strain universe.

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Player vs. Player blog tour, days three and four!

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It’s Day Four of the Player vs. Player blog tour! Here are some buy links for you:

Riptide
Amazon US
All Romance eBooks
Barnes & Noble

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.

Yesterday, my blog tour took me over to The Blogger Girls, where I discussed my background and  motivation for writing Player vs. Player. I also shared an excerpt over at Book Reviews and More by Kathy.

Today I’m sharing another excerpt over at Love Bytes, stopping by TTC Books and More for a brief spotlight stop, and The Jeep Diva is sharing a review and hosting a spotlight stop as well!

Remember, commenters will be entered into a drawing for one of my backlist titles.

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Also, if you missed the middle-of-the-night news, Saugatuck Summer is on special this week for $0.99 at several outlets, including Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble. Now is a great time to grab it if you haven’t yet!

Enjoy!

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Get it while you can! Saugatuck Summer available @amazon for $0.99 #mmromance #newadult @RiptideBooks

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So, I’m not sure if this is a special promotion, or a mistake, or what, but I’ve noticed that right now, Saugatuck Summer is available at Amazon for less than a dollar!

So, if you’ve been holding off on picking it up, or if you have other mm romance fans to get gifts for, now would be a great time. I have no idea how long it’s going to be at this price, though, so better grab it quick!

One summer can change everything.

Hi, I’m Topher Carlisle: twenty-one, pretty, and fabulous. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself. But let’s get real. Walking the fake-it-til-you-make-it road to independence and self-respect isn’t easy. Especially since my mom’s a deadbeat alcoholic, and most of my family expects me to turn out just as worthless. Oh, and I’m close to losing my college swimming scholarship, so let’s add “dropout” to the list.

My BFF has invited me to stay at her beach house on the shore of Lake Michigan. That’ll give me one summer to make money and figure out what I want to do with my life. So of course I decide to have an affair with my BFF’s married, closeted dad. Because that always works out.

Now I’m homeless, friendless, jobless. Worthless. Just like my family expects, right? Except there’s this great guy, Jace, who sees it differently. He’s got it all together in ways I can only dream of—he’s hot, creative, insightful, understanding. He seems to think I don’t give myself enough credit. And if I don’t watch out, I may start to believe him.

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Player vs. Player blog tour, day two!

PlayervsPlayer_468banner

It’s Day Two of the Player vs. Player blog tour! Here are some buy links for you:

Riptide
Amazon US
All Romance eBooks
Barnes & Noble

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.

Today my blog tour is taking me over to The Novel Approach, where I discuss a particularly mind-boggling bit of irrational reasoning regarding the presence of women in gaming spaces. Also be sure to check out TNA’s lovely review they posted yesterday! Then I head over to to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for a brief spotlight stop, and finally over to Smart Girls Love Sci-Fi, where I share the history and love of gaming that led me to write Player vs. Player. Remember, commenters will be entered into a drawing for one of my backlist titles. Enjoy!

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Player vs. Player release day and blog tour launch!

PlayervsPlayer_468banner

Today, Player vs. Player is officially available just about everywhere. Here are some buy links for you:

Riptide
Amazon US
All Romance eBooks
Barnes & Noble

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.

I start my blog tour off today over at Prism Book Alliance, discussing diversity in gaming then follow that up with two excerpts, one over at All I Want and More Books and the other at Cup o’ Porn. Commenters will be entered into a drawing for one of my backlist titles. Enjoy!

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That lovely moment when someone really gets it.

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So, today I was looking over some of the reviews of Unconditional Surrender at Goodreads and saw this one, about my contribution to the bundle, titled The Housboy: Initiation:

House Boy: Initiation by Amelia C. Gormley – Wow. I am kinda stunned speechless at this one. And that’s a wonderful thing because it hit a bunch of my buttons, both good and bad. This, in my opinion, is how to tell a good story, especially one dealing with BDSM. The timing and pacing fit for the characters and ages. It was an excellently told and fantastically rendered Old Guard tale. That said, humiliation isn’t one of my things, but I get it here. It works in context with the story. I really liked how the situation was updated to incorporate some of the newer trends of the Lifestyle while still giving the feeling of the attitudes of the Old Guard way of BDSM. I also loved how the Bryce stood up for himself in his desires and that Vale was man enough to at least warn him that the reality probably wouldn’t match the fantasy.

I saw that review and a big smile spread across my face because I didn’t actually expect anyone to ever get the Old Guard connection there.

About, oh, 18 or so years ago, when I was first beginning to explore the BDSM lifestyle, there was no such thing as Fetlife or any of the other sites kinksters use now to connect with one another. Connecting with people in the scene here in Portland was pretty much restricted to munches, a mailing list called PDX-ASB (an offshoot of the alt.sex.bondage newsgroup) and things like a now-defunct meeting known as the Rose City Discussion Club.

I went to an RCDC meeting with the man who would one day become my husband one night when they were having a panel about the Old Guard, and even though this was years before I would develop my interest in same-sex erotica and romance, I remember being particularly interested in the middle-aged leatherman who described the way the gay biker clubs used to work, and his description of their initiations. About how a lot of Old Guard gay BDSM culture was started by military men who settled in the port cities (like San Francisco) after they got off the boats following World War II and Vietnam. About how primal and so not-sanitized it was, unlike the much cleaner and politer way BDSM is practiced today.

It was that experience that informed my writing The Houseboy: Initiation. I wanted to write about that difference between Old Guard and New Guard sensibilities, and how someone who is uninformed about BDSM might respond to his first exposure being more of the Old Guard variety. I wanted it to have that raw, gritty, unsanitized feel that I got from the leatherman’s descriptions of the gay biker club initiations. I just honestly didn’t expect anyone to pick up on what I was doing. I’m so geeked that someone did!

(Don’t forget that you can get a 50% rebate in ARe store credit on Unconditional Surrender if you pick it up at All Romance eBooks today.)

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All my titles are eligible for a 50% rebate @AllRomance today! #mmromance

Today you can get a 50% rebate in store credit at All Romance ebooks on all my titles, along with most of the rest of their store! Great chance to get caught up on anything you’ve missed lately!

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Why I wrote Player vs. Player: @FeliciaDay @FemFreq @Spacekatgal @ChrisWarcraft @TheQuinnspiracy @gogreen18

I’m gonna get my bona fides–or lack thereof–out of the way up front.

I’m a gamer. I’m a feminist.

Am I a hardcore gamer? I imagine by most definitions, the answer would be no. I don’t have time for it; I have a son to raise and books to write. I drift in and out of gaming when something catches my attention. Whenever I’ve tried to be a hardcore gamer–for a while my husband and I had an arrangement for me to be able to take Friday evenings off from parenting starting at 7 PM so I could raid with my guild–it never worked out. 7 PM for me was 10PM for many of my guildies, so they wanted to start raiding at 5:30 PM, just when I was eating dinner with my husband and son. I always felt guilty because either I was letting my guildies down or I was ignoring my obligations to my family, so I just stopped trying to be a raider. Trying to do RaidFinder-type raids resulted in me being rejected and sometimes harassed for not being geared to their standards, so now I mostly stick to single-player games or do solo and small group content that I can work on in my own time.

While I am a feminist, I also don’t pretend that I’m the most educated and informed person on many of the issues. I’m very reclusive and sometimes that puts me behind the ball on current events and issues.

So, there. I’m by no means either an expert gamer or an expert feminist. I’m just someone who cares enough to try to call attention to issues when and where I can, using the voice and the medium I have available to me. Which, in this case, means as an author of LGBT romance.

When I started writing Player vs. Player , it was about a year after the harassment of Jennifer Hepler (formerly of Bioware) had taken place, and slightly less than a year after Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency had received such toxic backlash for starting her Tropes vs. Women in Video Games Kickstarter.

Those incidences stayed with me because I knew that internetting while female could be a nasty business, and because the harassment was so very vile, because it spoke of such a deep-seated hatred in gaming culture toward women, part of me thought, “Dear God, what is going to happen when one of these people goes from trolling to actual violence?”

It didn’t seem like a far-fetched possibility to me. In fact, it seemed downright inevitable. Because that’s the way things work. Bullies egg each other on and make one another feel bolder and try harder to impress each other and the bullying keeps escalating. That’s the way it’s worked ever since I was the bully-magnet on the playground when I was a kid. One kid would say a cruel thing. The other kids would laugh, so he’d say something crueler. Someone else would try to one-ups him. Next thing I knew, I’d be cornered with them all trying to out-do each other and intimidating me physically. A few days later, someone would be walking down the halls right on my heels, stepping on the backs of my shoes to try to trip me, pushing me into lockers, or, when I got older, grabbing my ass to impress his friends when he came across me browsing the book aisle in the supermarket.

Bullying escalates. So it didn’t seem at all unrealistic that the sort of treatment Hepler and Sarkeesian had received could eventually morph into actual physical violence. After all, what is the point of disseminating someone’s personal information such as their phone number and home address unless you’re trying to encourage someone to go after that person physically, and trying to intimidate that person with the possibility of an actual physical assault?

So that is what I wrote about. But I’m a writer of LGBT (primarily m/m but that may be subject to change in the future) romance, so I used the platform I had, making the story a murder mystery with a romantic subplot between two male characters. At one point I tried to contact Ms. Sarkeesian and see if I could get any more insight that would help me craft that story, but I imagine the amount of email she gets is tremendous so I’m not surprised that mine didn’t catch her notice, and that’s okay. I wrote as best I could, with the information had.

I thought I’d seen vile. I hadn’t seen anything yet.

I hadn’t seen an ex-boyfriend with a sexist ax to grind mobilize a bunch of misogynist trolls against Zoe Quinn (see next paragraph for explanation of this event.) I hadn’t game developer Brianna Wu driven from her home by threats. I hadn’t seen a college campus massacre threatened just because Anita Sarkeesian was going to speak about misogyny in video games (see below.) I hadn’t seen Felicia Day, the darling of geek culture, doxxed less than an hour after cautiously standing up and saying, “this isn’t right.”

(It should be noted that a couple days earlier, former NFL player and notable gamer and LGBT-rights activist Chris Kluwe said the same thing Day did, only much less diplomatically, but he hasn’t been doxxed. It’s only women being targeted.)

I’ve been posting recently about GamerGate, both here and on Tumblr. Maybe some of you don’t know what that is. I’m not going to try to explain it, because many people have done so much better than I can. I will refer you to this article, which explains it nicely.

ETA: After you’ve read that, check out this for a series of screencaps from discussions on 4chan in the first few days of the GamerGate operation, where we see it transition from a misogynist harassment campaign that wasn’t getting any traction to a concerted, calculated effort to try to cloak the harassment under a veneer of legitimacy and co-opt social justice hotbutton issues and language in an attempt to turn other women against Zoe Quinn.

But let’s just make one thing very clear. Despite subsequent recruitment of well-intentioned but misguided stooges and efforts to cloak themselves in legitimacy and claims of being about journalistic ethics, GamerGate is and has been from its very first inception about harassing women in the gaming industry, and women who critique gaming and gamers. It is a misogynist movement whose supporters are willing to make terroristic threats to silence people for suggesting that maybe, just maybe, using images and tropes relying on sexualized violence against women (and people of color, and LGBTQIA+ people) is at best, unimaginative and at worse, harmful to actual people.

GamerGate came along right after I had finished final edits on Player vs. Player. Part of me wishes sometimes I had written it a year later. It would have been a much more informed book. What was primarily on my mind as we were wrapping up PvP was Elliott Rodgers and the UCSB shooting. I even addressed the dedication to his victims and started the book with a quote from vlogger Laci Green, where she said about the shootings: “Misogyny actually kills people.”

At the time, Laci’s message was topical to PvP because that is, at its heart, what PvP is about. It’s about the misogynist/homophobic/racist backlash against gamers requesting (and game developers delivering) more diverse gaming content.

Misogyny actually kills people. That’s an important point to make. We know–especially right now in the aftermath of the murder of unarmed young black men in Ferguson and elsewhere across the United States–that racism kills people. We know that homophobia kills people. And misogyny kills people.

What is so very terrifying about GamerGate and the anti-diversity backlash in gaming is that it’s a perfect storm of misogyny, homophobia, and racism. These people are making terrorist threats against people who are simply asking for fewer harmful tropes and more diverse representation.

A very sad, jaded part of me wonders if the fact that Anita Sarkeesian, Brianna Wu, Zoe Quinn, and now Felicia Day are being terrorized, threatened, even driven out of their homes, would be getting as much play in the press if these women were black, and an even sadder part of me knows the answer to that question would be “no.” We’re taking notice because this is happening to white women (Correction: Ms. Sarkeesian actually identifies as Armenian, I’m told, and her family is from Iraq.)

If I were writing Player vs. Player today, the murderers in the story would identify themselves as supporters of GamerGate. The only reason they don’t is because I wrote the book a year too early. In the author’s notes at the end of the book, I reference Jennifer Hepler and Anita Sarkeesian and explain how their incidences informed the writing of the book. If I were writing it today, that list would be a lot longer, and the book would probably actually be a lot grimmer, because the situation is far more toxic than even I envisioned at the time I wrote the book.

Ms. Sarkessian, Ms. Hepler, Ms. Quinn, Ms. Wu, Ms. Day, this book is for you, and for all the women, people of color, and LGBTQIA+ gamers who have been and are being harassed into silence. It’s for cypheroftyr and dragonreine, two amazing LGBTQIA+ female gamers of color who are running the Why-I-Need-Diverse-Games blog and the #ineeddiversegames hashtag. It’s for more people than I can possibly hope to mention, who are refusing to be silenced, despite the best efforts of these misogynist, racist, homophobic trolls to turn gaming and simply being online while female into a culture of terror.

Thank you for fighting the fight. I know my contribution is nothing next to yours, but I’m doing what I can and I will always, always have your backs.

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In observance of Free Fiction Friday, I give you tentative blurbs to JUGGERNAUT and BANE #Strain @RiptideBooks

So, those of you who have been paying attention have noticed me talking a lot more (and a lot less vaguely) these past few weeks about the upcoming novels in the Strain saga.

Nothing is official or written in stone yet. I’m still waiting on a contract and I have no idea what the release date for these books will be. But I do have titles and tentative blurbs (again, however, they’re not written in stone. Pretty sure the titles won’t change, but the blurbs might.)

Juggernaut is the first of the two books. It’s set roughy 10 years before Strain and chronicles the events immediately before and after the pandemic that wiped out humanity.

JUGGERNAUT

Nicolás Fernández, better known to the clients of his mother’s escort agency as Octavio Costas, is one of the most in-demand male escorts operating independently of the corporate brothel system. To General Logan McClosky, Nico’s willingness to use his skills to influence political decision-makers make him a valuable asset, one McClosky isn’t afraid to employ to get the green light to activate Project Juggernaut, his last, best hope for turning around a desperate military situation.

Zacharias Houtman is struggling with a crisis of faith. Dutifully, he left seminary and his dreams of starting his own ministry behind to study political science and become his father’s assistant and advisor as the Reverend Maurice Houtman moves into the political arena. But his father is no longer listening to his guidance, veering into malicious and hypocritical zealotry intended to thrill the masses, and leaving behind Christ’s mandate of love and mercy.

When their disparate worlds unexpectedly collide, both Nico and Zach will find themselves unwitting instruments in the events that lead up to the end of humanity and civilization as they know it. But will they survive the aftermath?

Those of you who are paying attention may recognize a familiar name in there. Yes, Zach is the elder son of Father Maurice from Strain, big brother to Jacob. Several other Strain characters will make appearances in Juggernaut, as well.

I will warn you right now: Juggernaut does not have a HEA or even a HFN. You have to read Bane, the sequel to Strain, to get that resolution to Zach and Nico’s relationship.

BANE

For two years, Rhys Cooper has lived with Delta Company, the exiled super soldiers infected with the Alpha strain of the Bane virus, whose Beta and Gamma strains destroyed most of the earth’s population. His passionate, undefined relationship with Sergeant Darius Murrell has helped him begin to heal from the abuse, terror, and isolation of his adolescence. But despite frequent sexual exposure to the Alpha strain, Rhys hasn’t become a Jug himself.

Zach Houtman has spent the last twelve years separated from his Alpha-infected lover, Nico. He’s worked for the Department of Pandemic Research and Prevention to study Bane, but his true intentions have been a secret. The head of the DPRP has a far more sinister project, and Zach means to put a stop to it.

Encountering the young man Zach’s father and younger brother terrorized for seven years wasn’t part of the plan, but Rhys’s immunity may be Zach’s best chance to expose the DPRPs secret agenda. And a surprising discovery might finally allow Zach and Nico to be together—and maybe give the Jugs hope for a home and future at last.

So, there you have it. Again, a great deal of this is subject to alteration, but what has, for quite some time, been a rather amorphous project now has taken shape.

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STRAIN is a Rainbow Awards finalist! #mmromance #post-apocalyptic @RiptideBooks

rainbow awardsStrain has made it to the final round of the Rainbow Awards in the Gay Sci-Fi/Futuristic category! Yay!

Right then. Time to go work on the next two books in the Strain universe.

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Player vs. Player now available for pre-order at Amazon #mmromance #mystery #gaming @RiptideBooks

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Player vs. Player is now available for pre-order at Amazon.

Keep in mind that if you pre-order through Riptide, you get the book two days earlier, and more of the proceeds support the author and publisher. However, ordering at Amazon affects the chances of the book making bestseller lists upon its release, and that’s important too.

But, most important of all, readers have a choice. Which is always awesome.

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Get your first look at Player vs. Player @RiptideBooks #mmromance #mystery #gaming #comingsoon

This weekend while I was enjoying myself at Gay Romance NorthWest in Seattle, Riptide released the excerpt for Player vs. Player in their weekend newsletter. It’s now available on their website, so feel free to take a peek!

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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.

Player vs. Player is coming December 8, 2014 and is available for pre-order now!

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The summer in review (or: “where the heck have you been, Amelia?”)

So, it’s been almost two months since my last blog update. I know. Ask me how long some people have been waiting for responses to emails they’ve sent to me.

My dear friend Depression has been visiting this summer, and hasn’t wanted to leave. For the last several months, it’s been increasingly difficult to make myself do anything unless it has an actual deadline attached to it. Mostly I’ve been doing escapist stuff and avoiding talking to people (if you’re one of those people in question, I beg you not to take it personally, as I’m avoiding everyone. It’s not just you.) The avoidance is probably for the best, actually. When I tend to get this bad, I will often go off the rails and behave badly and lash out at people and it’s not pretty. It also, however, has not helped me get a whole heck of a lot done.

So, what have I been doing?

In order of what you’re going to see released, I have two projects approaching completion.

The first will be coming out just in time for GRL, and is a box set with a bunch of other authors whose company I’m incredibly thrilled to be in.

UnconditionalSurrender_400x600My story is titled The Houseboy: Initiation, and is nothing short of pure, unadulterated erotica. Seriously. There are a lot of stories where I go for “smut with substance” and there is a lot happening behind the sexytiems. This…is not one of those times. It’s Daddy kink. It’s BDSM. It’s age difference, virginity kink, gangbang, objectification, semi-public sex, exhibitionism, and God only knows what else. In many ways, it’s what Strain would have been without the angst and the fuck-or-die element driving the plot. If that sounds like your cuppa, I’ll be sharing an excerpt in my next post. 🙂

Of course, my depression means my inner critic is being particularly loud, and I’m convinced the story is awful and has no place in the bundle and blah blah blah, but hopefully it will go over well. The bundle is up for pre-order if you would like go that route, and here are the links:

Amazon US
Amazon UK
All Romance eBooks
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
iTunes

No, you’re not imagining things, Yes, we really are offering you 300K of original stories by some of your favorite authors for only 99 cents. Jump on this. Seriously.

PlayervsPlayer_468bannerThe next project in the works will be coming out in December. I’ve already shared some about it, but in case you missed it, this is my first attempt at an honest-to-God mystery. (Yes, I went to the plotty place.) This is also the same book you might have heard me refer to in other places as Third Wave. I also went to a surprisingly low-smut place with this one. I’m not sure if I was proud or appalled at how sparse the content and kink warnings were when I was filling out the information for the product page at Riptide. PvP will be out in December and is available for pre-order from Riptide. Right now we’re in the middle of edits and I imagine review copies will be going out in the next month or so.

Now, what else have I been working on? Well, a great deal of my new-word productivity this summer has been spent on Bane. What Bane is, I’m hesitant to say, because it keeps changing on me. It started as a prequel to Strain, set about ten years before the events of Strain. It was the story of high-end escort Nico and Zach Houtman, the disowned elder son and brother of Father Maurice and Jacob in Strain, and how their actions and the actions of those around them led to the activation of Project Juggernaut and the plague that wiped out most of humanity.

And then I discovered that Darius, Rhys, Xolani and the rest of the Delta Company gang wanted in on some of the plot threads that developed as a result of those pre-plague events, it became a sequel to Strain with portions that jumped back in time (via extended flashback-like sections) to before the plague. So it was sort of going to be a prequel-within-a-sequel, if that makes sense?

But then, as I brainstormed a few plot points with Chris, the editorial assistant at Riptide, I realized I probably have too much content for just one book. Nothing is set in stone yet, but it is looking like it might be two books–the original prequel I envisioned, and then a sequel which will take the events of the prequel and bring them together with the characters from Strain. Right now the whole project is still being called Bane, though I imagine at some point there is going to be another title involved.

So, what does this mean? Well, I’m really excited about Zach and Nico’s story, especially since I get to delve into a lot of the politics and build the world and events that resulted in the plague, but for those of you who were fans of Strain, I’m sure the big news here is that yes, Darius and Rhys WILL be back. It was actually pretty amazing from a writing standpoint. I was stuck writing some stuff with Zach and Nico, so I decided to switch over and start working on a new scene with Darius and Rhys, and I swear, everything just fell into place. They came back to me so easily and naturally, and it just felt so right, and once I started working on them, everything else started to take shape and make sense. So I’m hoping to have the first draft of this two-book manuscript done in another month or two, and then hopefully Riptide and I will have more information for all of you.

And don’t worry. I haven’t forgotten that Geoff and Robin from Saugatuck Summer, or Matt and Chris from The Field of Someone Else’s Dreams, are still supposed to get their own books. Those are just on the back burner for now because Bane is consuming my brain. And for those of you who are looking forward to PvP, you might like a heads-up that Niles’s twin brother Jordan will also be getting his own book, and also I may be dipping my toe into the f/f pool and giving Rosie, Niles’s boss and best friend, her story as well. In fact, she’s poking me in the back of the brain pretty hard and demanding it, and you just don’t say no to Rosie. It doesn’t happen.

Next month, I’ll be up in Seattle at Gay Romance NW 2014, and then in October, of course, I’ll be at GRL2014 in Chicago. I was not one of the lucky few who got an author spot, so I’ll be attending as a reader, but I will be at the Riptide table for the book signings, and I’ll be around, so you’ll get a chance to see me.

So there’s a lot in the hopper right now, the big issue is just overcoming the urge for avoidance and escapism that is part and parcel of being depressed. I’ll be trying to dig my way through my email and message backlog, so hang tight if you’re waiting to hear from me. Hopefully it will get easier the more I work on it. But for those of you are are still reading at this point, especially those of you who deal with chronic depression, what do you do to overcome it when you get in that place where you just want to avoid anything and everyone and not deal with it all?

 

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Player vs. Player now available for pre-sale @RiptideBooks #mmromance #mystery

PlayervsPlayer_500x750For those of you who have been waiting for my gaming industry whodunit mystery (formerly titled Third Wave) here it is! Now available for pre-sale at Riptide!

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 players. 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.

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Last chance to enter to win your choice of my backlist titles! #SaugatuckSummer @RiptideBooks

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Today is the last day to get in your Saugatuck Summer trivia answers to be entered into a drawing to win your choice of my backlist titles.

How it works: Visit the stops along the Saugatuck Summer blog tour. At the end of each post, there will be a trivia question relating to Saugatuck Summer. Some of the answers can be found in the book itself, some can be found in excerpts posted along the blog tour, and others can be found in the quotes from Saugatuck Summer posted on Goodreads.

PLEASE do not post the answers in the comments to the blog posts. Instead, fill out the submission form HERE on my About page. Each correct answer gets you one chance to win. So far there only two people have entered, so there is still plenty of opportunity. Tomorrow I will do the drawing (assuming it’s necessary) and post the results!

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Some weeks there’s so much to say that you can’t say anything

So, last week I was mostly offline except for blog tour stuff. Nothing going on, I just felt the need to crawl into my hole for a while, and then my kid had Friday off as well as Memorial Day so it was a long weekend parenting. Except for checking email, I went totally dark. No Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, whatever.

The point being, I was a day or two behind the ball learning about the UCSB massacre.

How did I find out about it? Well, my husband emailed me a YouTube video, which I ignored for a day because he often sends me links to miscellaneous stuff he has found interesting so I didn’t think it was pressing.

This was the video:

I’ve spent the week wanting to say something about it, but honestly I think Laci says it all in that video. I’ve been following the posts on Tumblr and the #YesAllWomen hashtag and vacillating between being saddened to the point of tears and enraged to the point of wanting to do violence myself, particularly at some of the male responses (and even some of the female ones.)

We live in a world where women who are killed by men for rejecting a man’s advances are being held culpable for their own deaths in the court of public opinion. Honestly, what is there to say about that? I can’t even. My mind goes blank and I just want to go HulkSmash! all over everything.

I read the #YesAllWomen hashtag, though, and while each and every anecdote fills me with sorrow and impotent rage, I actually don’t share most of those experiences. See, I’m pretty much a shut-in. I go out into public only when I absolutely have to, maybe 2-3 times a month, and usually it’s just to run a specific errand and head home, interacting with as few people as possible. The thing that saves me from sharing the nearly universal experiences of women trying to exist in our society today is a nearly pathological level of reclusiveness. Which is ridiculous. Is that honestly what it takes to escape the invasive sexism in our culture? Living like a hermit?

It seems almost a portent that this should happen the same week I contracted Third Wave with Riptide. I was originally going to self-publish Third Wave due to some scheduling conflicts that wouldn’t allow it to be released when I was hoping to release it, but those got worked out and now my family can go on our first vacation in almost four years rather than paying the editing costs for the novel.

Why do I say it seems a portent? Because Third Wave is about misogyny and homophobia, wrapped in a whodunit set in the gaming industry and geek culture. The same week that Laci Green says in her video, “misogyny actually kills people” I signed a contract on a novel about exactly that issue. My MC, Niles, is a gay man, yes, but an equally important character is his boss, Rosena Candelaria, the CEO of Third Wave Studios, which produces video game titles with mass appeal that specifically make a point of giving equal representation to women, POC, and LGBT players. It’s a book about feminist politics (and make no mistake, homophobia is at its heart an issue about misogyny as well, because there would be nothing threatening about people who blur the line between masculine and feminine if masculinity weren’t considered a gold standard that needs to be defended from any taint of the “inferior” femininity) and the backlash against anything that threatens the status quo of white cis-het-male privilege.

And just when I feared people would sneer or think I was exaggerating the problem, that no one would actually KILL over something like that, well, look what happened.

So remember that when you read Third Wave. Remember it’s not blown up for dramatic purposes. It’s very, very real. In the book I show some of the tweets and texts that Rosie and Niles deal with, and I will say right now that every single one of them is a paraphrase of a real tweet or text shared by feminist activists like Anita Sarkeesian of FeministFrequency, or the Fandoms and Feminism Tumblr, or Fat, Ugly, or Slutty.

So, stay tuned for more about Third Wave in the months to come. And pray/meditate/do whatever you do for the victims of the UCSB shooting, their families, and the women living in daily threat of similar violence being visited upon them.

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A heart-to-heart chat with @MarieSexton and more on the #SaugatuckSummer blog tour @RiptideBooks #mmromance

Due to the long holiday weekend and my son’s 7th birthday (which is actually today) I wasn’t able to update about the Saugatuck Summer blog tour for a few days, but I wanted to be sure to point out the post that went up over the weekend at The Novel Approach. There, I sit down with the lovely Marie Sexton and have a very open talk about our personal experiences as the adult children of alcoholics and how that informed our handling of our respective characters, Topher and Trey (from Family Man.) I knew the moment I read Family Man (which was a couple months after I finished writing Saugatuck Summer) that one of the authors had personal experience with living with an addict and subsequently found out that it was Marie, and in the process of our conversation we realized there are some universal–and very ugly–truths that most people don’t talk about so when we see them revealed, it has quite an impact for those of us who have lived through it as well.

There were also several other spotlight stops–some complete with reviews!–over the weekend, so be sure to check those out as well.

MM Good Book Reviews
Words of Wisdom from the Scarf Princess
Book Reviews and More by Kathy
LeAnn’s Book Reviews
TTC Books and More
All I Want and More Books
Tracy’s Place

Each stop has a new Saugatuck Summer trivia question, and answering the questions gets you another chance to win your choice of any one of my backlist titles. Yes, this means some familiarity with Saugatuck Summer is required. Some of the answers can only be found in the book. Others can be found in the excerpts that have been posted along the blog tour, or in the quotes from Saugatuck Summer on Goodreads. PLEASE DO NOT ANSWER THE TRIVIA QUESTIONS IN THE COMMENTS OF THE POST. Instead, click the link to my “About” page and use the contact form there to submit the answers to my privately. Each correct answer = one entry into the drawing, so the more questions you answer, the more chances you’ll have to win. The contest will remain open until June 19, with the winners being chosen on June 20. So good luck

Also, stay tuned this week for some really exciting news regarding Third Wave, my upcoming murder mystery!

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Get a sneak peek at Risk Aware (Saugatuck #2) and more! @RiptideBooks #SaugatuckSummer #blogtour

Today on Day 4 of the Saugatuck Summer blog tour, I’ve got a special treat lined up in the form of an excerpt from Risk Aware (Saugatuck #2.) Those of you who have read Saugatuck Summer are already acquainted with Geoff and Robin, an couple who take Topher in when he’s got no where else to go.  Risk Aware is the story of how Geoff and Robin get together. I’m sharing it over at Delighted Reader.

I also have another excerpt from Saugatuck Summer, this one a talk between Topher and Jace when they reconnect soon after Topher has ended his affair with his BFF’s dad. That is happening over the The Book Nympho.

I’m also making a spotlight stop over at Butterfly-o-Meter with yet another chance to win your choice of my backlist titles. How does that work? Well, at each stop along the blog tour, I’ll be trivia question from Saugatuck Summer. Yes, this means some familiarity with the book is required, though it doesn’t necessarily mean a purchase is required. Aside from things like the Amazon and B&N lending programs, you might also find the answers in the excerpts I’ve shared along the blog tour, or in the Saugatuck Summer quotes on Goodreads. The more questions you answer, the more chances you have to win.

Please do not post the trivia answers in the comments on the blog posts. Instead, go to my “About” page, where I’ve customized the contact form there for you to submit the answers to me privately. The contest will remain open until June 19 with the winners chosen on June 20, to give people a chance to find the answers. Each correct answer is another chance to win! So come play with us!

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