Love-Struck Valentine’s Day Blog Hop

Picture courtesy of J. A. Garland

Picture courtesy of J. A. Garland

Welcome to the Love-Struck Valentine’s Day Blog Hop!

Although I am a voracious reader, as most authors are, I don’t have book boyfriends; I have video game boyfriends. In an earlier post I revealed the characters responsible for beginning my obsession with virtual men in body armor. I’m using Valentine’s Day as an excuse to reveal the identities of my two favorite virtual men.

When I first began playing video games, I played first-person shooters, such as the Halo saga, and thoroughly enjoyed them. Then I discovered role-playing video games, known as RPGs. Oh. My. Gosh. I was hooked. RPGs are basically interactive stories; they contain rich, complex story lines, and well-developed characters that you can build relationships with. But, that’s not all – you can even romance them. Yes, you read that right. Virtual sex is alive and well in the realm of M-rated video games.

I love both sci-fi and fantasy, so it is only natural that my two favorite men comes from games in those genres. I also like my virtual men to be cocky and self-assured; once again, my favorites have both attributes in spades. Now, without further ado…

Picture courtesy of

Picture courtesy of

Accepting the award for Second Favorite Virtual Man is Zevran Arainai, elven assassin from the fantasy RPG, Dragon Age: Origins. (I’m sure that Zev would be crushed to know that he came in second.) You first meet Zevran when he tries to kill you – after all, he is an assassin; at that point you can ask him to join your party or you can kill him and finish the game without him. How anyone can bring themselves to kill the man who offers to “warm your bed” during the course of your first conversation, I’ll never know. I can’t imagine the game without him! Zevran is a complete smart-ass and loves to irritate the other characters – when he isn’t flirting with them. My husband avoids Zev like the plague when he plays; he doesn’t like being hit on every time they talk. (Yes, Zev is bisexual.) In my opinion, Zev has the best lines in the game; there is a whole conversation revolving around bosoms that is absolutely hysterical.  Simply put, Zev just makes me happy – and keeps me giggling throughout the game.

Picture courtesy of

Picture courtesy of

But my absolute favorite virtual man, the one that makes my little heart go pitty-pat and that I have a total and complete school-girl crush on is Garrus Vakarian from the sci-fi RPG trilogy, Mass Effect. Garrus is an alien, a Turian to be exact. Although you meet Garrus in the first Mass Effect game, he doesn’t become romance-able until the second one. In my opinion, he is well worth the wait. In fact, I dumped the guy that I romanced in the first game for Garrus and never looked back. (I know. I’m a heart-breaker.) What is it about Garrus that I find so appealing? Well, he looks cool, he has the best personality of any of the characters in the game and he has an absolutely toe-curling voice. (I’m a very aural person. Voices are a Really Big Deal to me.) I also love the way that once the romance starts, Garrus lets his guard down and becomes both adorably awkward and the king of bad metaphors. *sigh* Oh, and if you are wondering about sex with an alien, although the games leave the details to the imagination, those of us that write fan fiction are more than happy to fill in the blanks.

As a matter of fact, I have my love of Garrus and the world of fan fiction to thank for becoming a writer. I fell in love with creative writing in high-school, but allowed my perfectionism and fear (what if I suck, what if I can’t come up with any stories, what if…) to get in the way. I honestly didn’t know that fan fiction existed until I stumbled across it while researching Mass Effect 2. I read a few stories and thought “I can do that” – and I did. The positive feedback that I received gave me the courage to pursue writing original works.

So to Bioware, the creators of both Dragon Age and Mass Effect, I say “Thank you!” from the bottom of my heart. If it weren’t for the wonderful worlds and characters that you created, I might never have discovered my passion. Oh, and if you are ever looking for someone to help write your stories and the dialogue for future awesome characters – I’m your girl! :-)


Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Congratulations to JeanMP, winner of the Romance Ring Candle from Diamond Candles! The blend of pina colada and sultry black raspberry with hints of plum and vanilla beans are perfect for your next romantic evening with that certain someone special. Also, every Diamond Candle contains a ring valued between $10 and $5000! If your ring is marked with a 14k symbol inside the band, you should take it to a jeweler for a verbal appraisal.

Even though the contest is over, you can still go to the Blog Hop’s Homepage and check out the other authors that participated in the hop and maybe find a new favorite author along the way! Have fun!


  1. Denise Z says:

    What a fun giveaway, I love smell-good candles they are such a treat. I don’t consider myself very romantic, I enjoy action with a taste of romance in my reading of course, but in real life give me some chocolate and coffee and I am a happy happy girl. Thank you for sharing with us and for the awesome giveaway opportunity

  2. Celina k says:

    I have yet to really play many RPG’s, although my husband played a lot of final fantasy, which was cool. I have played MMORPG’s, WoW, Everquest, etc, and you do really get drawn into the fantasy. Oh, and Mass Effect is one that’s been on my list for a while!!

    • isabellanorse says:

      Let me try this again – my phone decided to send the last reply before I was done! I like to play campaign – just me vs the computer. For me, Mass Effect is like a favorite book – each time that I finish playing, I miss the characters so much that I always wind up playing again!

  3. Cecilia Dominic says:

    Isabella, I think we’ve bumped into each other virtually before, so it’s nice to “see” you again. Your post cracked me up, and I’m glad you have an understanding hubby. Btw, the Diamond Candles concept is really intriguing.

    Happy hopping!

    • isabellanorse says:

      Hi Cecilia! Yes, I think that we have bumped into each other before. I’m glad that you enjoyed the post. I had never heard of Diamond Candles until right before Christmas when my son’s girlfriend mentioned them; I gave several as gifts and they were a big hit. When this blog hop came up, I thought it would make a great prize.

    • isabellanorse says:

      Hi Wanda! I gave my daughter-in-law a Diamond Candle for Christmas and she has become an addict! My son is giving her two more for Valentine’s Day. All of the rings that I have seen have been really pretty.

  4. Jeanette (Jeannie) Platt says:

    I have heard of the Diamond candles… They are on my wish list of things to buy lol… I just haven’t had the chance to buy one yet as We are Yankee Candle family and I don’t like buying candles I can’t smell lol… Crazy I no but I have heard good things about them. Thanks for being part of the hop.

    • isabellanorse says:

      Hi Nicole! I understand – I don’t get to play as much as I used to. Now that my kids are grown, it’s the parents that need care. And of course, there is never enough time to write. Ah, well! Such is life. :-) Thanks for stopping by!

  5. jacqueline maphis says:

    This is a awesome idea, I love diamond candles but I really don’t have the money to keep buying them so I have been posting the coupons hoping others will use them !

    • isabellanorse says:

      Hi Jacqueline – What a great idea! Now that my daughter-in-law knows that my son bought her two candles for Valentine’s, she has begun doing the same thing. Until he broke down and told her that he had already bought the candles, she was flooding my son with discount codes and updates on which scents had sold out, lol! Thanks for stopping by and good luck in the giveaway!

    • isabellanorse says:

      The only thing that could make it better is if they could find a way to add chocolate to the mix. Hmm, I wonder if they make a chocolate scented candle? I’ll have to check. Thanks for stopping by Tamara!

  6. Debra Kay Neiman says:

    I don’t do RPG but my son and his fiance work for companies that support players (Blizzard and I forget) any way, I love candles and men in armor… crystalbluern at onlineok dot com

    • isabellanorse says:

      I probably wouldn’t have become a gamer if I didn’t live in a house full of guys. They were the ones that convinced/forced me to start playing Halo and it just kind of grew. There was a time when my sons would have almost killed to work somewhere like Blizzard! Thanks for stopping by!

    • isabellanorse says:

      I had never heard of them until right before Christmas. I gave several as gifts and created a “monster” in the process – my daughter-in-law is now a Diamond Candle addict! :-) Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Tina B says:

    I have never played that type of game because, honestly, I suck at video games. Lol.
    I used to love Devil May Cry, but could only get so far. I did have a major crush on Dante though, so I understand.
    Thank you for the wonderful giveaway!
    Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!
    trb0917 at gmail dot com
    FB ~ Tina Becker

    • isabellanorse says:

      Hi Tina! I’ve gotten “stuck” in games more times than I can count, lol. I know it’s bad when I have to break down and ask the hubby or sons “how the heck do I get past this part?” Thanks for stopping by and Happy Valentine’s Day to you too!

  8. Bonnie Gill says:

    I really enjoyed your post about RPG boyfriends. That one was new to me I used to play Mortal Kombat and loved SubZero.
    Thanks for a chance at a great giveaway.
    Happy Valentine’s Day.

  9. shadowluvs2read says:

    Hi! Happy Valentines! Great post! Fun reading! I hope your having an awesome time! Thanks for all the fun! I never really did the game thing. I was more the book worm when i was little. Thank you for the amazing giveaway!

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