A long time ago, in a world not so very unlike this one lived Elves and Ogres, Humans and Trolls, Dwarves and Frogloks…Vah Shir…and Iksar? Yes, back in the day, I was addicted to EverCrack (EverQuest or EQ for the non-initiated).
For a while, I guild hopped as I tried to find my place in the magical realms of Norrath. But eventually, I was adopted by a group who called themselves “The Fourth Wall.” They weren’t all about the leveling and the uber-mobs. They liked to screw around as much as I did. It was a perfect fit, and I became a bigger EQ junkie than my husband had been.
Sadly, as happens with games, people moved on. To WoW and EQ2 and I don’t even know where else. I’m pretty sure there’s still a Waller presence most of those places, but it’s small. Instead we’ve become a group that mainly just says hi to each other on Facebook, but we still talk. We’re still, after all this time, Wallers at heart, and I’m pretty sure we could stir up some of our old trouble-making ways if someone really wanted to, and maybe someday we will.
For myself, after the Everquest team disbanded, I didn’t want to start over. I tried with EQ2, but I couldn’t find that same magic bullet again. And I didn’t want anything less. So I left gaming behind me, but I held on to the joy of my time with the Fourth Wall and kept wishing I had a way to show my appreciation for them in my work.
Then Entangled put out the call for “Geek” novellas. I spent a lot of time going back to the website and looking at the submission call. (Really, it was pretty ridiculous how many hits that page got from my IP.) In the interim, I found out I was finally going to get to meet one of my in-game “boyfriends” at a convention in LA. I remember sitting at my computer and reading the email, and suddenly pieces just started to click into place.
What if we’d never seen each other? What if I hadn’t known his real name? And then we’d randomly met instead. (Of course, in this thought process, we were both single, but I was plotting a story, not my life.) From that simple beginning, Gaming for Keeps was born. And I knew as I wrote, that the Fourth Wall had to be included, at least tangentially. Because without them—their wild ways and ridiculous fun and their way of making a ragtag group of strangers feel like a family—there wouldn’t have been a book at all.
So when interviews ask if I was ever a gamer, I say yes, but what I want to say is, “No. I didn’t game. I spent time with my family.”
Gaming for Keeps by Seleste deLaney
Pen Holloway’s done with men—in real life. Guys in game are so much less drama. But when her partner from Heroes of Fallen Gods invites her to the convention of the year, she panics. What if he’s another jerk? What if he’s not?Cal Burrows is living his dream of being a spy. One of TRAIT’s misfit spies, but still a spy. It’s the perfect job… until an arms dealer with a taste for blood invades his not-so-secret geek haven. All Cal wanted from ConDamned was to meet his on-line girl. Now, with the threat of mass murder looming, he’s forced to choose between keeping his mission a secret and protecting the girl of his dreams.Despite their attraction, Pen can’t help but suspect Cal’s hiding something. She also can’t shake the feeling he’s not as much of a stranger as he seems. Read an excerpt
After that, she occupied herself with short stories for a while, and then poetry until after she had earned a degree in chemistry, spent time as a high school teacher, and became a mother of two. Then she delved into writing fiction once more.
She never lost her love of the fantastic, and her stories now always reach into other realms. The worlds and people she creates occupy as much of her time as the real world, and she is most fortunate to have a family that understands her idiosyncrasies and loves her anyway.
You can find Seleste on her website, Goodreads and Twitter.
Entangled Publishing has generously offered an ebook copy of Gaming for Keeps to a lucky commenter!
To be entered to win this swag pack just leave a comment and tell us: Do you or any of your loved ones play online/video games? Which one is your favourite? If you do not playwhy not?
Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 5 July 2013!