Player vs Player by Amelia C. Gormley Blog Tour, Excerpt, Reviews & Giveaway!

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Hi guys today we have Riptide Publishing’s Amelia C. Gormley with her newest release Player vs Player, we have Amelia telling us a little of what inspired the book, we have a great excerpt and Giveaway and we also have two reviews 😉 So enjoy the post and remember to leave a comment for a chance to win one of Amelia’s backlisted books <3 ~Pixie~

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Player vs Player


Amelia C. Gormley

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.

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Amelia C. Gormley

Hi and welcome to the Player vs. Player blog tour!

Player vs. Player marks my first attempt at writing a whodunit, which was a bit of a scary endeavor. I’ve always been better at stories that are about character growth and exploration, of taking a character and putting them in a situation and then sitting back and watching the evolution of that character as they work their way out the other side. PvP was a much different experience, and something which took me outside my authorly comfort-zone.

Writing Player vs. Player also gave me an opportunity to combine four things I’m deeply enthusiastic about: gaming, fandom, activism, and of course, LGBT romance. I’ve been a gamer since early childhood, back when Atari had just released their first consoles. My teenage years were marked by NES and Sega, and early adulthood saw the transfer of my gaming allegiance to PC gaming.

It was because of my involvement in the fandom for Bioware’s Dragon Age franchise that I began writing m/m romance, and I eventually published courtesy of the encouragement I received from a friend I made through that fandom.

It’s also Dragon Age fandom that opened my eyes to some of the toxic undercurrents in gaming and geek culture. I had, of course, been witness to the casual misogyny and homophobia within gaming culture at various times, but until I witnessed the vitriolic free-for-all against former Bioware writer Jennifer Hepler, and then the attacks on feminist critic Anita Sarkeesian. It brought to my attention the subject of convention harassment and the Fake Geek Girl trope that is used to marginalize and invalidate the presence of women in fandom.

So when the idea occurred to me to write a book bringing all these things together, both acknowledging my roots as an author and a gamer, I had to take it. I know that the LGBT romance audience is full of other people who have experienced marginalization, misogyny, homophobia, racism, negative stereotyping, and inadequate positive representation in geek and fan culture (which by all means are not issues limited to gaming.)  And I know we’ve all been witness to, and maybe even targets of, the toxic backlash that comes of speaking up and trying to change that culture.

This book is for all of us. It’s for the critics who have been driven from their homes and forced into silence by threats of violence. It’s for the cosplayers who have been groped and assaulted without their consent. It’s for the LGBTQ/POC/female geeks who have heard casual slurs in fan spaces that left them feeling alienated and unwelcome. And it’s for the people pushing to change that culture, and to make geekdom something inclusive for all of us.

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“Oh, great,” Rosie muttered as the line continued to shuffle past, rubbing her temple where it felt like someone was trying to drill into her head with an ice pick. Her senses were kicking into overdrive. The smell of the place was turning her stomach, and the flickering of the overhead lights had her eyeballs ready to crawl out her skull. “I never got a chance to tell Jordan to bring us some water. Where’s he off to now?”

“Prince Valiant, you mean?” Niles chuckled, flashing her a characteristically wry smile. It always astonished her how two identical men could have such different smiles. Same olive-brown Mediterranean complexions, same dark hair and startlingly contrasting pale gray-green eyes, but Niles’s smile was gentle and sweet, Jordan’s sharp and wicked. There was no way to confuse the two.

“Hunting down some con officials to report the harassment to, if I had to guess,” Niles said. “If he catches another glimpse of those kids that bothered Charity, he’ll make sure they’re kicked out. He probably also wants to keep negative incidents like that from affecting the studio’s public image.”

“Ouch.” Rosie lifted her eyebrows at the harsh assessment, and Niles gave a self-effacing shrug.

“You know Jordie. He defines enlightened self-interest. He’ll always do the right thing, but he likes it better when the right thing happens to also have a pragmatic upside.”

She considered it a moment, conceding the point with a small nod. “Well, where’s your intern, then?”

“You mean the one you told to go have fun?” Niles snorted, and Rosie rolled her eyes at her own about-face. This headache was screwing with her memory—and her ability to think rationally. “Probably panting at my brother’s heels,” he continued.

She gave him a pointed look, and Niles waved a hand at her. “C’mon. You know Jordie better than that. He’s not going to mess with an intern. Patrick’s virtue is safe, and his crush doomed to pass by unrequited.” He lowered his voice. “Especially since I’m reasonably certain he isn’t even out yet.”

Another pause for autographs, then Rosie murmured, “How do you know?”

“That he’s not out or that he’s pining for my brother?” Niles shrugged and stretched, nodding as their handlers approached the table and a con official announced the autograph session was over. “Just a feeling. He winces every time I ask him about his family.”

Rosie dropped the subject as their handler escorted them away from the table and to the conference room where she and Niles would be doing a Q&A next. Outside the door, they were stopped by a trio of college-aged guys. In addition to the casually sexist and homophobic slogans emblazoned on their T-shirts—seriously, did anyone even make that “fake gamer girl” joke anymore, much less the “back to the kitchen” schtick?—they had an air of nervous bravado, as if they were girding their loins for a confrontation. Apprehension masked with arrogance. One of them had a cell phone out, apparently taking a video.

“Excuse us. Rosie, could we talk to you for a moment?”

She cleared her throat, trying to ignore the spike of pain in her temple. There were times she wished she didn’t have quite the level of notoriety among gamers that she had. Most gaming studio CEOs wouldn’t be recognizable on sight, but then, most gaming studio CEOs were cis men who had never had to deal with their faces being plastered all over sexist and violent internet memes. “Do I know you gentlemen?” she asked briskly.

The one who appeared to be the ringleader hesitated for a moment but charged on. “No, but we’ve got this pet—”

Her face stiffened. Jesus, she needed some water. “If I don’t know you, then it’s Ms. Candelaria. Now what can I do for you?”

The three didn’t seem to know how to respond to that, trapped somewhere between indignant defensiveness and embarrassment at being called out on a breach of simple courtesy their mothers should have drilled into them. It took one of the silent pair nudging him to get the ringleader to continue.

“Um, actually, we were hoping to present the petition to Mr. Lott, since he’s the producer on Age of Valiance,” he said, referring to Third Wave’s low-fantasy single-player RPG, the first game of a new franchise still in development.

The bottom dropped out of her stomach at the first surge of adrenaline, which wasn’t helping the nausea any. Years of practicing, years of studying the societal and cultural scaffolding that taught women not to make waves, and it was still a daily effort to force herself not to retreat. Be conciliatory. Head off a confrontation. “Drew Lott is the lead animator and concept artist for AoV, not the creative producer,” she corrected them, her voice and smile brittle. “And he couldn’t be here today. Now, I’m about to be late for our Q&A, so if you young men could get to the point . . .?”

The spokesman glanced at his companions, as though looking for moral support, and then the set of his jaw became more belligerent. “It’s just that we’d be more likely to get an unbiased hearing from him.”

Another spike of pain. It wasn’t doing much for her temper. “Drew Lott works for me. I am his boss, not his coworker or subordinate, which means whatever your issue is, any decisions made regarding it will have to come from or be approved by me.” She crossed her arms over her chest, turning her wrist to check her watch before tucking her left hand into the fold. “Now, your choices are to present your petition to me within the next ninety seconds, or email it to Drew, who will then bring it to me. Which will it be, boys?”

Another exchange of glances between them all. In her peripheral vision, she saw Niles cover a smile. How likely was it that these guys’ worldview would adapt to the idea that, yes, a woman did actually run the show at Third Wave Studios? It wasn’t a secret by any means, but these sorts of situations came up with exhausting regularity: fans assuming that she either had someone she answered to or that some male would know better than she would about issues pertaining to her studio and game franchises.

Finally, the spokesman held up a sheath of papers. “All right. Rosie, this is a petition—” her jaw tightened, her eyes narrowing “—signed by five thousand seven hundred and fifty-three loyal Third Wave fans—both online and here, today, at the convention—requesting the removal of Niles River as a writer from Age of Valiance and as a writer at Third Wave entirely.” He glanced down at the papers, clearly reading the petition’s text. “There are rumors that there are going to be gay characters in AoV, just like there are in Phoenix Force. It’s clear from the direction Third Wave’s titles have been going that Niles has an agenda he’s trying to push with the writing he does on these games. We feel Third Wave is neglecting its largest paying demographic, which is the straight male gamer. We’re determined to boycott AoV if Niles continues to write for that game and forces more gay characters on us.”

Rosie stared at them silently, one after another, and they began to squirm when she refrained from speaking. They kept peering at Niles as if they expected him to jump into the conversation, but he took a step back. His mien was sober, but Rosie could see the small sparkle he was trying to mask, the slight crinkle in the corners of his eyes, the twitching at the edges of his lips. He knew what was coming, and he was more than pleased to let Rosie handle it.

“What’s your name, young man?” Rosie finally asked the ringleader.

“Jeff Whitfield,” he answered, his Adam’s apple bobbing as he swallowed.

Rosie saw their convention handler step close and murmur to Niles that they needed to get going to the Q&A, but at least the poor guy had the sense not to interrupt.

“Well, Jeff.” She heard the coldness that imbued her tone and wished she had the patience to extend civility a little further. But she didn’t. “I’m curious. Which part of what you just did do you think was okay?” Except for the one with the video camera, the boys began stammering, and Rosie could see the defensive bluster gestating on their lips. She didn’t give it a chance to birth. “Was it the part where you completely disregarded my request not to address me familiarly? The part where you intimated that because I’m a woman, you wouldn’t get an unbiased hearing from me? Or the part where you attempted to undermine my authority at the studio I created by assuming that decisions there regarding our game franchises are made exclusively by men—both Niles and Drew?”

The boys shot more glances at Niles, but he merely shrugged, the gesture clearly saying, You’re on your own, dudes.

“Or was it the part where you presumed that you, as cisgender, heterosexual, white male gamers, could tell me how to run my business?” Rosie drew a breath, and the boys swallowed, hard, in unison when her lips curled in a particularly nasty smile. “At any rate, in this case, Jeff, your arrogance is only outpaced by your ignorance. Niles River is not, and never has been, a writer for Age of Valiance. He’s far too busy as the lead writer for the Phoenix Force franchise, where he—with my full and enthusiastic support—oversees the development of storylines that represent the entire gender and ethnic spectrum of the actual gaming audience. He’s presently at work on a collection of downloadable content expansions that will be coming out after PF3’s release. And because I do not and never will make my staffing decisions by committee or public referendum, you may be assured that he will continue in that role until I, and only I, decide to use his talents elsewhere. Now, you’ve wasted enough of our time. Get out of my way.”

When she’d brushed passed the boys to enter the conference hall, and their handler had closed the door safely behind them, Niles finally spoke. “You okay?”

“Hm? Yeah.” She pressed her fingers against her temple and rubbed so hard her short nails dug into the skin.

“You have your migraine meds with you?”

“Why do you think I wanted the water?” She opened her eyes to look at their handler. “If you don’t mind?”

“I’ll get you a bottle,” he murmured as he led Rosie and Niles backstage. He disappeared into the conference room that was gradually filling and returned with the water. Niles sat beside Rosie silently as she downed the pills and prayed the headache would dissipate before she had to face the Q&A.

“Fuck,” she muttered finally. “I think I almost preferred the tumor in my skull to the headaches after having it removed.”

Niles offered her a crooked smile. “I think I prefer you alive and capable of speech.”

Someone came backstage to speak with their handler, who warned them they would be introduced in ten minutes and left again. Rosie sat up, her energy lifting at the prospect. Public address was where she shone. She could have made a mint on the lecture circuit if she hadn’t decided to develop video games.

She tapped her fingers on her chair while they waited. “You know, I keep thinking back to the Star Trek conventions and such I went to when I was a kid, back when conventions were run for fans by fans and weren’t such a huge corporate affair. And I don’t remember shit like that happening.” She chucked her thumb over her shoulder in the direction they’d entered from. “Guys groping women, calling everyone fags and bitches, trying to push women around. Was I just too young and ignorant to notice, or has it actually gotten worse?”

“I’m not sure. I think maybe the attitude was always there, but that internet culture and the anonymity it affords have amplified everything. Lack of accountability has given those sorts of people the idea that it’s okay to behave that way, so they maybe don’t have the filters they used to?” Niles shook his head and sighed.

“Maybe. Or maybe I’m just getting to be a tired, old, bra-burning bitch ready to yell at kids for walking on her lawn.” She snorted. “What the hell possessed me to prance out of college with my women’s studies and computer programming degrees and decide to reform video game culture?”

Niles grinned. “The fact that no one else was doing it and it needed to be done.”

“True, that.” She closed her eyes and fell silent a moment, then asked, “Vault of Reminiscence raid tonight, since we’ll be out of here early enough to sync up with the guildies on the East Coast. You in?”

He nodded eagerly, but before he could say anything, their handler appeared again, and Niles stood. Rosie could see the effort it took for him to suppress his urge to offer her a hand up, because he knew she wouldn’t want it.

“Come on.” She rose on her own, squeezing his elbow in passing. “Let’s go enlighten some of today’s misguided youth, then kick some undead ass.”

About Amelia

Amelia C. Gormley may seem like anyone else. But the truth is she sings in the shower, dances doing laundry, and writes blisteringly hot m/m erotic romance while her son is at school. When she’s not writing in her Pacific Northwest home, Amelia single-handedly juggles her husband, her son, their home, and the obstacles of life by turning into an everyday superhero. And that, she supposes, is just like anyone else.

Her self-published novel-in-three-parts, Impulse (Inertia, Book One; Acceleration, Book Two; and Velocity, Book Three) can be found at most major online book retailers, and be sure to check Riptide for her latest releases, including her Highland historical, The Laird’s Forbidden Lover, the The Professor’s Rule series of erotic novelettes (co-written with Heidi Belleau), the post-apocalyptic romance, Strain, her New Adult contemporary, Saugatuck Summer, and of course, Player vs. Player, available now. She is presently at work on two more novels set in the Strain universe, Juggernaut and Bane, coming summer/fall of 2015.

You can contact Amelia on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, BookLikes, Tumblr, or contact her by email using the form at

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Win one a book from Amelia C. Gromley’s backlist!

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a choice of one a book from my backlist (excluding Player vs Player.) Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 13th. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.

(Just leave a comment on this blog to enter)


Amelia C. Gormley - Player vs Player 300x450Title: Player vs Player

Author: Amelia C. Gormley

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance set in the online gaming world

Length: Novel (255 pages)

ISBN: 978-1-62649-183-0

Publisher: Riptide Publishing (December 8th 2014)

Heat Level: Low – Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 4 1/2 Hearts Overall

Reviewer: Tams &Leigh

Blurb: 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.

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Tams Review: ♥♥♥♥ 4 Hearts

Niles River is a Video Game Designer with a vision to create more diverse games that don’t put woman, gays or people of color into a tiny, one sided view box. While he and his twin brother are happy to bring this new face to the gaming world, they are also aware there are people out there that won’t be happy about their approach. Niles and Jordie have to deal with bullying, cyber bullying, a not so open crush and an ex-boyfriend that didn’t get the memo on the ex part.

While Niles is passionate about his work and following through with his vision, can he justify his cause when people are dying as a result of the changes he is trying to make. Somewhere in the middle of all the madness and mayhem, Niles gets a second chance with the one that got away. But will he survive the insanity and actually get that chance?

This was a suspenseful and powerful story. Bullying, cyber bullying, hate and vengeance are a norm of society today, sadly. And if there is one thing that Gormley does well it is take real life situations and circumstance that are twisted and hateful and write about them realistically, yet tastefully. I was on the edge of my seat throughout this entire story, wondering what lurked around the next corner and who would drop next.

Loved the way the relationship between the twin brothers was written, and that almost juicy little tidbit at the end, that was just mean to dangle that carrot and then jerk it away. How rude! And anyone that follows my reviews knows I do LOVE me a bitch on wheels, enter Rosie. Strong, fierce and she ain’t taking no shit off of nobody, I just loved her! It wouldn’t be a true Gormley novel without atleast one twisted SOB though, now would It? I give you Patrick.

My only issue here was the conversations and back and forth between characters. I got lost a few times and had to go back to be sure I was hearing the correct voice in the story. Aside from that I was just completely engrossed in this story and was seriously upset when I reached the end, I wasn’t ready for it to be over.

The subject matter is series and the content is definitely not for the faint of heart, but the story is so well written and conveyed that I have to tell you this one is a must read. If you like strong characters and storylines steeped in reality from an Author that is not afraid to tackle the darkness of our world and society today, this one is a must read I assure you.

Leigh’s Review: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts

Niles River and his twin brother Jordan work with Rosie at Third Wave Studios creating games. This games are a little outside the standard cookie cutter, bang bang, shoot’em ups. They are diverse, reflecting all makes and models of people. And the general male gamers can’t all handle that. So there is great deal of backlash that they take for it. Generally it’s just threatening texts, forum posts, emails, and such.  However someone decides to take it to the next level and start killing innocent people. This brings Niles first love Tim, who is now a detective into the picture.

So yes this is a romance, but that takes a back drop to the more important issues going on. In the male dominated gaming world women and gay man can be and many are treated like shit. As a gamer you learn too many times hide behind your avatar to prevent the hateful slurs and sexist remarks just so you can enjoy the game. Rosie and Niles bring light to these very real issue. If anyone has spent time on games like WoW and it’s like, you may already know.

Because some people don’t agree with the type of powerful women and openly gay characters that have been incorporated into the game they decide to start killing. And the end game is Rosie and Niles. Tim and his partner Detective Payne have been assigned to the murders. The deeper they dig the more clues they find of the very real intolerance in the gaming world. 

This book has an author’s note about some of the instances being inspired by actual women game developers. The complete disgust the texts and emails in this book give me are not faked. If you are a female gamer and/or a supporter of any cause dealing with the LGBT world you should read this book.  Many of the descriptions of slurs and downright hate given will be very familiar to us. 

Hell anyone should read this book. It is well worth a read for the truth it states. Props to the author for writing about the issues.

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8 thoughts on “Player vs Player by Amelia C. Gormley Blog Tour, Excerpt, Reviews & Giveaway!

  1. Every time I think I have enough books to last for a while, Riptide adds a new one that I think I NEED to have. This one will probably be at the top of the TBR pile because I love a good mystery/romance. Thanks! 🙂

  2. This sounds really good! I loved Strain and can’t wait to read another book by this author.

  3. Love that this book includes some real world situations! Thanks for the chance to win.

  4. Hello, everyone. I want to apologize for not commenting sooner. Everything went off the rails in my life last week when my husband lost his job. I want to thank Leigh and Tam for the lovely reviews, though, and acknowledge those of you who followed along on the book tour and commented. I’ll be contacting the contest winner shortly. Thank you!

Comments are closed.