For those who don’t know, my co-written gay romance STRONG SIGNAL releases tomorrow. It’s about a gruff soldier and a charming video game streamer who meet online and go from gaming rivals to flirtatious friends to two men who share immense amounts of love and respect. In preparation for the release, Megan Erickson and I asked people to fill out a Google Form and share their own stories of cyberlove whether they met a spouse or a close friend online

We got over thirty stories! The amount of people who met significant others on social media or World of Warcraft or in Romancelandia was astounding. In a couple of blog posts, Megan and I are going to share quotes from these stories as well as people’s thoughts on Internet connections in general. STRONG SIGNAL‘s release week will be spent celebrating online connections.

Cyberlove via Gaming

“My sister met her husband online through playing World of Warcraft. Eventually they met in person and later he moved across the country so they could be together. They have now been married for over 7 years and have a 5 year old son.”

-Nicole

“I love the dynamic of online connections. It reminds me of older times when couples (and friends and family) communicated via letters. The way someone writes says a lot about them. What they choose to put into words. Which words they use. Add gaming/role playing to that and you’re getting a lot more out of an evening together than shouting across a crowded club or eating popcorn at the theatre. You instantly have something in common.”

-author Kelly Jensen met her husband on a MUD, which is a text-based MMORPG

“We discovered that we shared a love of really well-drawn characters. We discussed the game characters at length, and eventually moved to another play-by-post role-playing forum, where we started writing characters and their adventures together. We met face-to-face for the first time in 2011, I believe. Then, at one point, one of us suggested, hey, why don’t we try writing a book together? And the rest is history.”

-author Jenn Burke met her co-writer on a video game forum

“I used to have a love/hate relationship with WoW because the gaming culture can be so misogynistic, but like my friend Row said, I’ll always be grateful for WoW because I met two of my dearest friends in-game.”

-Bats met their best friends on World of Warcraft

“It’s a lot easier to talk to people when you can type out what you want to say, reread it, and fix shit so you don’t sound like an idiot.”

-anon, met their husband on World of Warcraft

Cyberlove in Romancelandia

A lot of people discount internet relationships because they know that people can pretend to be someone they’re not. And that’s true. That happens a lot online. And sure, it’s easier to hide behind an avatar and pretend you’re half or twice your actual age or weight or whatever other thing you want to hide or misrepresent. But there are two important things that get overlooked: 1) just because you’re talking to someone who’s sitting across the table from you doesn’t mean they’re being honest with you or telling you everything 2) it can be a hell of a lot easier to talk about personal stuff online, so often times you get much more frank, real conversations with people there than you would if you were speaking to the same person face-to-face. “

-author Karen Stivali met Karen Booth on a literary agent’s forum

“I think sometimes it’s easier initially to share things with people who are “similar” to you online because there’s a barrier of the screen between you. You don’t have to worry about how you sound or how you look or where you live or how much money you have. Online, you’re simply “you”. But then real friendships develop and, if you’re lucky, those friendships transcend everything because it was formed on the person you are on the inside, not what you are on the outside.”

-Eileen Griffin met Nikka Michaels in an Original Sinners RP

“There is a connection with Lisa that I have never found before. She gets me. She gets my insane love for books and never judges me for talking about the characters as if they were real people. She gets all my ticks, the good, the bad and she laments and celebrates with me without reservation. She is the person I can fire off an email, message or text to with ridiculous glee or the need to vent/rant and knows that I don’t require I lengthy response, just an ear to get it out. I look forward to our chats every day.

From books to work to marriage to kids to dreams to just our lives, she’s my person now.”

-Sara met her good friend Lisa on Goodreads

“I think especially when you’re a writer, it’s unlikely you’ll know people in your everyday life that write, and especially that write the same things you do. It’s so nice to have an online community for that because writing is a huge part of my life. My online friends know what I’m up to in a way that my family and friends in my regular life just don’t.”

-author Michelle Hazen met her best friend and critique partner while writing Vampire Diaries fanfic

Cyberlove on dating sites

“We exchanged AIM handles and chatted via IM several times and it was an instant, incredible connection. After my first IM conversation which lasted several hours, I told my sister: “I’m going to marry this man.”

-Nicole met her husband on Match

“The dating website was called interracialmatch.com. This was my 4th time trying and I was honestly going to call it in after all the previous duds. One day I get a message from him complimenting me on my pic. We just starting sending emails back and forth and from there a relationship started to grow.”

-Mama’s Dirty Lil Reads

“We are proof that, yes, opposites do attract.

He was top of his class in high school and a college drop out because college wasn’t challenging enough. I had a Master’s degree. He’s a geek to the core. I could barely tell you who Princess Leia was and I had no idea who or what Firefly was. He has a music and movie collection that could be on display at the Smithsonian because it’s so big. I had my favorites and didn’t deviate much from it. He’s messy. I’m neat (with some occasional messy habits). And there are days he drives me absolutely insane to the point I want to make him sleep in his car. “

-Kelley met her husband on Match

“I’ve experienced the gamut on internet personal connections. I’ve seen, evil and heartbreak, but I’ve also known heaven and joy. Don’t let one bad interactions ruin it for you. Just be smarter the next time. You’ll never know what you might find next, if you aren’t open to new experiences and try.”

-@slayrwanab met her husband on a religious dating site

Cyberlove in Fandom

“For about 8 years she was one of my closest friendships, online we talked about everything and anything. We went through several chat services like ICQ, AOL, Yahoo, MSN. We video chatted. We sometimes even talked on the phone. We sent each other gifts by mail that took months to reach the other, etc. Ironically, by the time Facebook was starting to become a thing in México, somewhere around 2008 we had stopped talking. I had gone on a year of studying abroad and hadn’t been online much and she had started university and we had drifted apart.

But then, during my first semester of uni in México City I got a friend request on Facebook and I recognized her! I was extremely excited about the fact that we might reconnect. But she surprised me even further. Her first message to me, posted to my Wall was something along the lines of: “I am 99% sure that you were sitting behind me today in EconMath. Meet tomorrow 15 minutes before class at the at the atrium?”

And that was how after almost 10 years we first met in real life. We didn’t go to class. By the end of the semester we were roommates.”

-moniq met her good friend Pauline in Harry Potter fandom

“It might sound nerdy and antisocial, but I find it exciting to meet new people through the internet, even if I won’t ever meet them (though it hardly ever happens if our connection grows strong enough) And damn, some of the most interesting people I know, I know from around the internet and, I mean, I would have never had known them if not for us speaking and sharing experiences and thoughts with each other. “

-Lavi met her best friend in an anime art forum

“Two of my best friends I met online–my soul mate and my bunny. We’ve stood together during my pregnancy, the loss of a parent, the declining health of a loved one, the ups and down of our marriages…they’re my rocks, and I only hope I’m the same for them.

I’ve met a ton of other friends online as well. Some friendships stay in cyberspace while others move into in-person space. Brighton Walsh and I made that transition. We live near one another, so our Tweets and texts moved to coffee and writing dates, and now we get together every month or so for dinner, drinks, cheesecake, and writer talk. i think the internet is a wonderful place to meet new people, find those souls so much like your own, and grow friendships. I know I won’t be unplugging anytime soon. “

-Ellis Leigh met her two partners in crime in fandom


Strong Signal

I was counting down the months until the end of my deployment. My days were spent working on military vehicles, and I spent my nights playing video games that would distract me until I could leave Staff Sergeant Garrett Reid behind.

That was when I met him: Kai Bannon, a fellow gamer with a famous stream channel.

I never expected to become fixated on someone who’d initially been a rival. And I’d never expected someone who oozed charm to notice me—a guy known for his brutal honesty and scowl. I hadn’t planned for our online friendship to turn into something that kept me up at night—hours of chatting evolving into filthy webcam sessions.

But it did. And now I can’t stop thinking about him. In my mind, our real life meeting is perfect. We kiss, we fall into bed, and it’s love at first sight.

Except, like most things in my life, it doesn’t go as planned.

*Strong Signal is a standalone, full-length novel with no cliffhanger*

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