news ‘n’ stuff

I will likely pick up babbling about board games again imminently but here is a brief update on the state of the Hall.

Firstly, Looking for Group, my (I think adorable but then I’m biased) nerdmance will be out at the end of the month. Bit of a change of pace from For Real, since there’s absolutely no kink, and very little sex, but there are a bunch of gaming jokes. Which I think is a reasonable substitution. I will say that it’s a book very close to my heart, but let’s face it I say that about every book I write – it’s not like I’m going to be “oh, yeah, this one I crapped out indifferently.”

But it’s very much about the reality and the value of online spaces, which is something—as a long-time gamer—I always took for granted. Since then I’ve obviously been moving in romance circles, but the message sort of remains the same. Since I live in the UK, most of the people I interact with regularly are an ocean away. I may literally never meet them. And it’s sort of boggling—and a little bit painful to me—that those relationships could be dismissed as unreal. Or less than a relationship than is transacted through physical, rather than virtual, space.

I think something we’re grappling with as twenty-first century people is the way our assumptions about relationships are changing and that’s something I tried to explore in the book, both explicitly and implicitly. For example, here’s a scene of the hero, Drew, who thinks he might be falling for a girl on the Internet, discussing this with one of his friends. Her name is Tinuviel, which probably tells you everything you need to know about her:

 “If you told me you’d fallen for someone you’d met on the internet, and especially if you’d met them in a video game—not, like, through a dating app—I’d be way more worried.”

“Why?” Tinuviel frowned in a noodle-y kind of way. “The way I see it, when you meet someone in”—she did air quotes—“‘real life,’ all your initial assumptions about them are based on their physical appearance, but these are extremely likely to be ignorant, prejudiced, and misleading. When you meet somebody online, your initial impressions of them are based on what they say to you. This can’t be any more misleading, and it’s only social conditioning that makes you accept the validity of relationships initially based on nothing but physical response. Online relationships are based on intellectual and emotional connection. If anything, it’s a better way of doing it.”

This was all a bit much on a hangover. He worked through it like it was a particularly chewy piece of biltong. “Yeah, but what if what they say isn’t true?”

“My mum said she once had sex with a woman because she, the woman, not my mum, thought she, my mum, not the woman, played the alto sax.”

Drew was definitely way too hungover for this. “Uh?”

“That was long before the internet. People misrepresent themselves, consciously or otherwise, all the time.”

“Can we come back to the bit where your mum tells you stories about her lesbian affairs?”

“You know your parents have had sex right?”

He put his hands over his ears and rocked. “I don’t like to think about it.”

“It’s just sex.”

“It’s your parents.”

“Sometimes you have a very strange attitude to things, Andrew.”

Also here’s a book teaser because apparently I can be bothered to do this now. Woot woot.

My other piece of news is that Pansies is available for pre-order on the Riptide website – and the cover will be revealed on the 10th, in RT. Here’s the blurb:

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.

Can’t wait for you to see the cover – it’s completely gorgeous, and my feedback to Simone during the design process basically consisted of “more flowers, no really, more flowers.” Which was, y’know, fun. Although probably not for Simone.

And finally, finally, I wrote a free short set in the Spires universe about Jasper. It’s 7k of alcoholic misery, literary references and ill-advised sex. You can get a link to download it in a format of your choice by signing up to my newsletter (people who are already subscribed should have also received a link).

Have a book teaser becomes I am run mad with book teaser power.

In Vino has been properly edited (thank you @neverwhere) and gorgeously covered and looks genuinely, shockingly, like a real book. I’ve always been terrified of whatever magic produces ebooks—to the point of absolutely refusing to contemplate self-publishing anything ever because wild horror. So this was actually a pretty major step for me, even though it’s just a 7k freebie. I’m pretty excited about the whole business though so … maybe watch this space.

Who knows what mischief I will get up to now.

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8 Responses to news ‘n’ stuff

  1. Oh my stars, I’m so excited for all of it!

  2. neverwhere says:

    I’m SO EXCITED for Looking for Group, I can’t even begin to tell you. Online relationships are everything to me, and this story just seems to tick all my happy boxes. FEEL MY IMPATIENT AND ENTHUSIASTIC SQUEE 😀

    Also I really need to start commenting more on your blogposts, there are a lot of Board Game Thoughts I keep meaning to share, heh.

    So proud to be a part of your first foray into e-books, yayyyy! <3

  3. Sarah Lyons says:

    This: “Online relationships are based on intellectual and emotional connection. If anything, it’s a better way of doing it.” All my most important relationships at the moment are online and just because they’re online and I’ve never met some of the people I’m in contact with daily doesn’t make them any less important to me, or any less deeply felt. That’s why I loved this book so much.

  4. Jody-Anne says:

    Hi Alexis, I watched the link in your newsletter for the Rita’s and had a YAY!! Moment when your name was read out and felt really proud for you. Which is kinda weird since I don’t actually know you, but I was and very happy with a big smile on my face. Loved Courtney’s reading of your speech, your self-deprecating humour shining through, and Sarah’s(?) was very emotional. Thank you for In-Vino, gosh Jasper is a self- loathing wanker quite deep in his cups, what would it take for him to find his redemption? Am looking forward to Pansies and meeting Alfie & Fen.

    Had to laugh at the quote from Looking For Group. I have two sons, aged 23 & 20, and when those two get together they talk like that, and there is this whole verbal shorthand they have around gaming (used to be WoW, now I think it’s something else…LoL maybe?) memes, vines, snapchats etc, and my husband and I sit there like we have moved to some alternate reality where we hear the English yet don’t understand a word that is being said!!! So I may pass on reading that, although I think younger son might enjoy it, will ask him.

    I also found your Freebies section, how I missed this before I have no idea, and after reading Draconitas, I am intrigued about Sand and Ruin and Gold, a purchase for the weekend methinks.

    Anyway, sincere congratulations on the Rita, and thank you for the mAny happy hours of reading your books, and blogs. I admire how your mind works, and how you put it on page.

  5. CMC says:

    I go on holiday and you start promoting the hell out of your books. Clearly I should do this more often.

  6. “Come only if you play the alto sax”: The theme of unrequited lust in Alexis J. Hall’s early romance
    A Thesis
    To the Faculty of Graduate Studies
    In Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements
    Master of Arts in Awesome
    I am so looking forward to reading these two books!

  7. Pam/Peejakers says:

    *squee!* Thank you for the little excerpt from LFG, that was lovely 🙂 I’m so looking forward to reading this 🙂 I’m not a gamer, as you know, so, err, gamespeak is a bit alien to me, but I care not one whit about that, I can simply look up the words I don’t know. Hey, if I do it for Shakespeare, I can surely do it for you 😉 Besides, I already know it’s totally worth it, having read the excerpt on the RP website. Even at it’s . . . gamespeakiest 😉 it’s completely charming & human.

    As for the value of online relationships, well, you already know what I think about those <3 *hugs*

    But, definitely a lot of people still don't get it. My Mom will still occasionally say to me things like, but you don't really *know* these/this people/person. Sigh. And I'm like, omg, I've had more in-depth conversations with [people] [person] than many or most people in "real life"! But, I guess I have to give *her*, at least, a break, being 94 and all 😀

    Anyway, can't wait for Looking for Group, and of course, also Pansies! <3

  8. stephanie says:

    Loved the teasers and the Looking For Group excerpt. I spend a lot of time these days on Social Media so can completely relate to online friendships. I’m not sure I’m going to understand all the lingo because I’m not into gaming at all – are you going to include a Glossary for people like me? Also, how do you pronounce Tinuviel please?

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