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Showing posts by: Alexis Hall click to see Alexis Hall's profile
Oct 8 2016 11:00am

Alexis Hall Excerpt: Pansies

Alexis Hall

Pansies (A Spires Story) by Alexis Hall

Alfie Bell is . . . fine. He’s got a six-figure salary, a penthouse in Canary Wharf, the car he swore he’d buy when he was eighteen, and a bunch of fancy London friends.

It’s rough, though, going back to South Shields now that they all know he’s a fully paid-up pansy. It’s the last place he’s expecting to pull. But Fen’s gorgeous, with his pink-tipped hair and hipster glasses, full of the sort of courage Alfie’s never had. It should be a one-night thing, but Alfie hasn't met anyone like Fen before.

Except he has. At school, when Alfie was everything he was supposed to be, and Fen was the stubborn little gay boy who wouldn’t keep his head down. And now it’s a proper mess: Fen might have slept with Alfie, but he’ll probably never forgive him, and Fen’s got all this other stuff going on anyway, with his mam and her flower shop and the life he left down south.

Alfie just wants to make it right. But how can he, when all they’ve got in common is the nowhere town they both ran away from.

Get a sneak peek at Alexis Hall's Pansies (available October 10, 2016) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

An instinct jarred Alfie awake again later. He still was under the covers, but there was only empty space beside him. It shouldn’t have been a surprise. But it was. He sat up, groped for the lamp on the nightstand, and flicked it on. “Fen?”

Fen, still naked from the waist up, whirled away from the door like a thief in, well, the night.

“What are you doing?”

“I’m leaving. What do you think I’m doing?”

[Read the full Pansies excerpt...]

Sep 28 2016 3:00pm

Game of Love: Video Games that Are Essentially Romance Novels, Part 3

Source: Shutterstock

Love, Gamified, Part 1 | Love, Gamified, Part 2

Welcome to the final part of my perhaps unnecessarily long series of articles on video games that might be interesting to people who like romance. In part one, I talked about games that involved virtually no explicit gameplay elements and which would run on more or less any device you can read this article on. In part two, I talked about some slightly gamier games which don’t take that long to get used to but which do require some amount of resource management, puzzle solving or other non-story-related gameplay. Today I’m going to talk about games that are aimed squarely at a mainstream market. While I think they’re interesting to people who are interested in romance, they all also require you to be interested in, well, gameplay, often of the killing monsters and taking their things variety.

This is a slightly controversial point in gaming circles, but I very much feel that when videogames work well as a storytelling medium, they work because of their gameplay not in spite of it. Which is to say you kind of have to be interested in both, otherwise the gameplay becomes busywork or the storytelling becomes a distraction. To put it another way, gameplay is kind of like prose style in a novel. It doesn’t matter how interested you are in the story or how much you like the characters, if you can’t get on with the way a book is written, it’s going to be a struggle to finish and you probably won’t re-read it.

So what I’m saying is, please investigate these games because they’re cool, but only invest your time and money in them if you think you’re likely to enjoy actually playing the sort of game that they are.

[Read more...]

Sep 21 2016 2:30pm

Game the System: Video Games that Are Essentially Romance Novels, Part 2

Source: Shutterstock

Love, Gamified, Part 1 | Love, Gamified, Part 3

In my last article, I made some recommendations for videogames that I thought might appeal to a romance reading audience. The first batch of games I discussed were the ones I categorised as More Like Books, that is you require essentially no gaming experience or technology to experience them. In my next article, I’ll be looking at the games that are More Like Games, that is the ones with strong, conventional videogame tropes and mechanics that might be less accessible to a non-gaming audience. This article is about the ones in the middle. You won’t have to circle strafe anything or worry about optimal gearing but there’s enough “game” in these games that you might not necessarily get the ending you want.

Visual Novels With Resource Management

In the last article, I recommended a bunch of visual novels as an easy introduction to what you might call digital storytelling. The next, well, I hesitate to use the phrase step up because that implies a progression but the next step gamier from straight VNs is what I’m loosely describing as VNs with resource management. Like traditional visual novels, these games are primarily told through text and images with gameplay restricted to selecting options from lists or menus. The big difference is that there’s usually a more abstract level to keep track of as well the purely narrative choices like “do I kiss the butler or the duke.” You might find that your character has numerical stats to manage that go up or down depending on what you do. You might even have control of a small stable of other characters who can achieve things on your behalf to greater or lesser degrees of success. There might even be fighting in it.

Here are a few of this sort of game that I’ve enjoyed recently:

[Read more...]

Sep 14 2016 3:30pm

Love, Gamified: Video Games That Are Essentially Romance Novels, Part 1

Looking for Group by Alexis Hall

In a brand new series of posts, Alexis Hall (author of Looking for Group) will be giving us nerds an introduction to all things gaming. What could make it even better? Well... for us, if the games were essentially romance novels! Alexis is here today with a few recommendations—and will be back two more times to help you level up romance game. Thanks, Alexis!

So I recently wrote a nerd romance. It’s about two college (or, as we say in this country, university) students who meet playing an MMORPG. Basically, it’s a romance novel that, honestly, is a lot more fun if you’re interested in video games. For this post, I thought I’d talk about the opposite, which is to say video games that are a lot more fun if you’re interested in romance.

This isn’t a top ten or a best of (although I do recommend all or at least most of these games to at least someone) so much as slightly flaily effort to present a range of titles across the medium in a way that makes them as accessible as possible who might not necessarily come from a gaming background.

One of the additional challenges of putting together a list of games recommendations (especially one organised by theme rather than by gameplay) is that games have inherent barriers to entry that other narrative media don’t. Some of these are technological or financial—even if you read your books on an electronic device, you very seldom have to invest in several in order to account for platform specific releases. Others are simply mechanical. I’ve read a lot of books I didn’t like, but they didn’t demand I master a set of abstract skills before I could finish them.

With that mind, I’ve organised this list into three very, very broad categories, and I’ll do one per post. These categories are simple: More Like Books, More Like Games, and Something In the Middle. Let’s start with:

[Read more...]

Aug 17 2016 11:16am

Looking for Group: Exclusive Excerpt

Alexis Hall

Looking for Group by Alexis Hall

So, yeah, I play Heroes of Legend, y'know, the MMO. I'm not like obsessed or addicted or anything. It's just a game. Anyway, there was this girl in my guild who I really liked because she was funny and nerdy and a great healer. Of course, my mates thought it was hilarious I was into someone I'd met online. And they thought it was even more hilarious when she turned out to be a boy IRL. But the joke's on them because I still really like him.

And now that we're together, it's going pretty well. Except sometimes I think Kit-that's his name, sorry I didn't mention that-spends way too much time in HoL. I know he has friends in the guild, but he has me now, and my friends, and everyone knows people you meet online aren't real. I mean. Not Kit. Kit's real. Obviously.

Oh, I'm Drew, by the way. This is sort of my story. About how I messed up some stuff and figured out some stuff. And fell in love and stuff.

Get a sneak peek at Alexis Hall's Looking for Group (available August 29, 2016) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

Tinuviel was the only person Drew knew who actually decorated their college room. He had a couple of posters and a duvet cover that didn’t look like he’d nicked it from a hotel but that was about as far as it went. Tinuviel had things like throw pillows and a lamp. She was lying on a pink sheepskin rug, fiddling away on one of those razor-thin MacBooks, the sort Drew wouldn’t have been able to afford in a million years.

She waved him in, and he collapsed gratefully into the beanbag chair.

[Read the full Looking for Group excerpt...]