A love as easy as breathing.
Life started out rocky for Devin Rice, but it’s turned out pretty well. He has adoptive parents and a brother who love him, and he works as a coder for his dad’s video game company. Romance is scarce, but a chance encounter leads to more than he ever expected.
While dropping off an assignment for his sick brother, Dev meets his mentor. Art history professor Seth Kent is brilliant and gorgeous, just what Dev has been looking for. Except that he’s in a long-term committed relationship.
Seth’s partner, Leaf, is older and sees the world differently due to his unusual upbringing. To him, the clear attraction between Seth and Dev isn’t a problem, it’s an unexpected gift. After all, Leaf is often on the road, going wherever rescue dogs need rehabilitation.
When Leaf meets Dev, all the missing pieces fall into place, and three men from different worlds and at different points in life fill each other’s empty spaces. For them, building a future together is the most natural thing in the world. But their unconventional love causes waves in their careers and family dynamics, and each man has his own doubts and fears to overcome.
A Gamer Writes Stories
It’s not a secret to anyone who follows me on social media, that I’m a gamer. Occasionally in my stories, my characters are gamers too. Usually that’s not a huge part of them, after all, who wants to read a romance where one of the guys is mainly sitting at his desk, playing games on his computer (or couch, on his console.)
I’ve been thinking about writing a story that’s about two guys meeting in an online roleplaying game, though, but we shall see if that ever happens. Anyway, I’m here to talk about how it is for a gamer to write stories.
Basically, it’s exactly the same as if a non-gamer would write them, I suppose. But there are differences too. For one, my gaming time is always time away from writing, and sometimes, I get sucked into a game for days at a time.
See, gaming is a hobby like anything else. Some people marathon series, others read a whole series of books at once, and others, well, go run that marathon, I guess. For me, while I definitely watch series and read books and pointedly do not run at all, gaming often takes first place.
Funnily enough, gaming often also helps me write more. No, not because inspiration, but because it helps me focus. Let me explain how. See, I have ADHD, and my mind gets to bee pretty damn annoying some days. It’s a lot of “look squirrel!” this and “oooh, shiny!” that, which doesn’t a good environment for writing make.
That’s where gaming comes in. If I’m, at that time, into a game that allows pausing, I’m using that to my advantage. (By the way, this also works with TV-shows and movies just as well.) When I’m writing, I have the game running on my computer as well. Then, whenever my brain starts to do its thing and my concentration starts to slip, I switch from my manuscript to the game. I play for a few minutes or so, and then pause the game again, and go back to writing immediately. If I can go back and forth like this, it prevents me from staying on Facebook or whatever else I might get up to online. Because that kind of distraction really… distracts me. For hours sometimes.
When I do the same technique with a TV-show, I often have them open on half my screen and the manuscript is open on the other half. Then I watch the show for anything from seconds to twenty minutes before going back to writing. Works just as well for me.
So why gaming? It’s always been hard to explain gaming to a non-gamer. But here are some of my reasons for the type of games I like to play.
There are many different kinds of games from Mario Kart to World of Warcraft to Fortnite to dozen others. Some you play alone, others with many people connected to you via the internet. When I play a solo game, it’s often like getting to live out a movie at the safety of your own home. You get to be the hero, make the decisions, run a whole country, rescue kidnapped people, or ride that dragon, maybe. What’s not to love about that?
It’s a bit different with online games. I’ll use World of Warcraft as a personal example here. WoW was first “pushed” on me by my best friend in 2006 sometime. I didn’t want to do it then, we had a bit of a crappy internet connection and I knew it would suck my life into the black hole of gaming, so I resisted for a few months.
In January 2007, though, the first expansion for WoW, called Burning Crusade, came out, and I was house-sitting for my parents for two weeks and I had time and… yeah. The rest is history. I still buy every expansion and play for a few months each year, until I get bored of it. It’s been 11 years, which blows even my mind a little.
The thing about games like WoW for me is the community. People form guilds inside the game (and many others) and find new friends there. Hell, I even introduced two of my friends from different parts of the country to each other through the game because I wanted to hang out with them both. They played together for a while, met offline, and have now been married for years.
I’ve met many of my closest friends—some who I still have, others I’ve lost over time—online and in gaming. In fact, that best friend who got me into WoW, I met in another online game over fifteen years ago.
After a long day, it’s a nice thing to log into a game and be greeted by people asking about your day and wanting to hang out with you, even when they’re sometimes on the other side of the world. Sure, there are negative things about online games, but for me, the positives have always been more important.
Where it all started from for me, then? Well, it might be the Mario Bros games when I was little. One of my best friends at the time had a Nintendo Entertainment System (yes, I’m that old…) and we used to play Mario when we were hanging out at her place.
I got my first computer in my early teens, and it was one of those grayscale ones that didn’t really have games. The one after that did, though, on floppy discs. I got those computers whenever a family friend’s work office upgraded to a newer model and they gave me the old one. So I was always behind on them, not that they were much to talk about back then anyway.
When I was eighteen, I met my first partner. They and their brother were gamers. They’d also just gotten a new gaming computer, and we got sucked into a game I’d seen a review of somewhere and wanted to play (incidentally, their brother had the game in his shelf, and they’d never noticed!)
Through the next few years we were together, we played so many computer games. We still reminiscence about the games, and yes, we still play together online sometimes.
It was during those years when I finally got a computer that could run some games, and I never looked back. Now, at 37, I’m sometimes the oldest person in a group of gamers online, but often I’m actually not. I’ve been in a WoW guild a few years back, when a sixty-something lady played too, for example. Gaming shouldn’t be about age anyways, because neither is reading or watching movies.
In my July 10th release, Like Breathing, there’s a scene where Dev, a gamer who works in the gaming industry, shows some games to Seth, who is an art history professor. He does that because he instinctively knows that Seth will find the art in the games fascinating—and he does.
There are so many facets in gaming that most people don’t even think about. The next time you see someone you love playing a game, maybe ask if you can watch for a while? And if your kid plays too much Fortnite, talk to them calmly, ask if they could teach you how to play so you understand better, and for goodness’ sake, don’t forbid them from playing before you actually know what you’re banning them from. We all know why you’d want to limit a child’s computer time (and I agree wholly that there should be a limit, feel free to contact me if you want more of my thoughts on that), but I also believe you should know what it is exactly they’re playing.
In any case, there are many kinds of games for many more kinds of players. It all takes finding the right one for you, if you’re brave enough to open your mind a little and look.
Tia Fielding is a thirtysomething Scandinavian who is a lover of witty people, words, cats, sarcasm, autumn, and the tiny beautiful things in life. Tia struggles with stubborn muses and depression, but both are things she has learned to live with. Tia identifies as genderqueer, but isn’t strict about pronouns. Why? Because luckily, in her native language there aren’t gender-specific pronouns. Being a reclusive author living with her fur-babies is another fact of life for Tia, among the need to write that seems to be a part of her psyche by now. In 2013 one of Tia’s novels was recognized by the industry’s Rainbow Awards in the Best LGBT Erotic Romance (Bobby Michaels Award) category.
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