Shameless Self-Promotion

Bookburners Season 4 Is Here!

Oh, oh, hello, I — I didn’t see you there. Things have been... well... 

72,051 of 90,000 words

72,051 of 90,000 words

Yes, that about sums it up. Ahem.  We’ll get back to that in a moment.

Meanwhile... forgive my hair and the musky smell around my general person, and open your ears. Gentlefolk all, I have brought you all together here today for a very exciting piece of news. Bookburners Season 4 has begun!

Episode 1 is available to read for free (!!!) right now, and you can preorder the omnibus for the season right now, too. Where? You can as always buy individual episodes or a season subscription for the audio and ebooks from Serial Box directly. Or head on over to my Buy My Books page for the complete roundup of retailers; available at a fine bookselling website near you, more or less.

For those of you who are new around here, Serial Box publishes ebook and audio versions of bite-sized serial fiction.  It’s like HBO for ebooks, so we use a lot of ebook language — a bunch of writers work together to make a great story, and then split each season into distinct episodes which are released once a week. And Bookburners is a fantasy series about a black ops team working out of the Vatican who hunt down and confines magic.

It is alternately creepy, sweet, moody, action-packed, and deeply weird — and I can say all that because I only write two episodes a season so I can’t take all the credit. My co-writers,  Max Gladstone, Mur Lafferty, Margaret Dunlap, and Brian Frances-Slattery are the absolute best most funnest people in the world to work with. (Except for maybe all of my other teams, XOXO, I love you all equally, it’s just that it’s a LOT.)

If you’re not new to Bookburners... you guys. YOU GUYS. This season goes into some uncharted territory and I am flailing with excitement at what’s in store for you. I really can’t wait.

Finally, while I have you, I thought I’d issue a quick PSA about the ~*~super neat trick~*~ Serial Box does. You can start reading an episode on the official Serial Box app, and switch to audio — and it magically knows where you were and continues from the same page! Pretty neat, huh? I could’ve used something like that when I was a commuter. Text on the noisy train ride, but audio on the walk to the station, with seamless switching in between. Dang. (It’s only for iOS right now, but I swear the Android version is coming.)

Right. Right. So about that word count thing up there. It’s been quiet around here for the last few months because, as you may have guessed from my last post, I’ve been struggling hard with burnout and illness and kind of a hot mess. But I’ve also been plugging away at a deeply political novel for the last few months. I’m not quite there yet, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel from here.  

For a while I think I’m going to use this space as a little bit of public accountability, talking about the wild and ridiculous state of my book, my process, and myself. It’ll be a good time. Thanks for sticking around. You are, as always, the best.


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Stuff I Did in 2017

I usually look forward to writing these posts: a nice bow, bright and neat, wrapping up my accomplishments into a tiny package that I can pull out later as evidence that I do in fact do things sometimes, and that everything is not always horrible. They are not something I procrastinate on; rather, they’re the thing I write when I’m procrastinating on something less pleasant but more important.

But this year, in the quiet spaces between one tab and the next, between rounds of Gardenscapes, at stoplights and in checkout lines, a thought keeps popping into my head: I am not OK. It’s not that there’s anything in particular wrong with me, exactly. In every objective measure my life is pretty great, and in just about every subjective one, too. I’m not unhappy.

But there is an incredible emotional weight to discovering that the bedrock foundations of the world have shifted. The things I thought I could rely upon cannot be relied upon anymore. Like all of us, I carry that burden with me, everywhere I go. So: huzzah, I published a story! (But the world is still on fire.) Hot diggity, I got to visit Zurich! (But the world is still on fire.) Sah-weeeeet, I got to play Horizon Zero Dawn! (But... the world is still on fire.)

It’s not that I’m not OK, as such. It’s that the aggregate of all of the things going on are not OK.  I can’t hold the foundations of the world in place, but still I strain against the weight of them, trying to keep back the uncertain horrors that would emerge from their absence.

But I am nothing if not an optimist. No, truly! And so I am going to determinedly look back on the year and see how bright the bright side is, exactly.

What I Shipped in 2017

Novelettes

The Revolution, Brought to You By Nike (Fireside)

 Hard Bargain, Bookburners Season 3 (Serial Box)

Into the Woods, Bookburners Season 3 (Serial Box)

Patch Job, ReMade Season 2 (Serial Box)

Chosen One, ReMade Season 2 (Serial Box, out December 29) 

Short Stories

Three Laws (Fireside) 

 TeleTravel™ Release Notes (Patreon)

 Informational Survey for Benefit of Profit (Patreon)

Games

Waking Titan (No Man’s Sky ARG with Alice & Smith)

Kiss of the Revenant (The Secret World ARG with Alice & Smith) 

Spy Virtual Race (Macmillan Cancer Support and Six to Start) 

Zombies, Run! Season 6 Radio Mode (Six to Start and Naomi Alderman) 

 Zombies, Run! The Board Game, Guest Mission (Six to Start and Naomi Alderman)

Podcasting

The Cultures (with Naomi Alderman and Adrian Hon) 

 

There’s also one more ReMade episode I’ve written that won’t be out until late January. I will also have written two more episodes of Bookburners by the New Year, but since they won’t be published for some time, those go on next year’s ledger.

Aside from all that, I’ve written a number of essays and articles that I frankly haven’t kept track of; two more sets of scripts for other audio dramas; an all-new short story, written and sold but not yet announced; I’ve almost given up on selling another short, which I love desperately but cannot seem to place in a market; and I very noticeably have not written a novel, which fact I felt a lot worse about before I realized I’d written well over 80,000 words in various other forms as well as designing and writing for an old-school, work-hours-heavy alternate reality game this year. Plus, you know, parenting school-age children with heavy extracurricular schedules.

Wow. I guess this is why I do this end-of-year recap, huh? No wonder I’m feeling so burned out lately.

Of all of these pieces, I suspect The Revolution, Brought to You By Nike is the most significant and impactful thing I’ve done this year, and will not doubt be one of the highlights of my entire career. It is extremely political, and simultaneously the most personal thing I have ever written. And it was published in February, which has led to a curious hangover the rest of the year, a certainty that my most important work is behind me, and that none of the rest of it counts as much. I realize this is ridiculous, but there it is.

So that’s work. What about everything else, though?

Punditing, Travel, and Activism

After a lengthy hiatus, I started taking speaking engagements about transmedia storytelling again this year. And I found I quite enjoyed it, after my break! I even had conversations with a couple of universities about teaching at various games programs over the last year, but ultimately discovered that they couldn’t pay me enough to justify the opportunity cost — I would love to teach, but not as an adjunct. The math just didn’t work.

On the other hand, I took a year mostly away from science fiction conventions, which turned out to be for the best given how hard I was working, especially over the conference-heavy summer months. So I went to Confusion in January, and then spoke only at C2 in Montreal in May and CILECT in Zurich in October. (I also traveled to London for business in late June, and my family took a glorious trip to Disney World in August.)

I also tried to volunteer with the NYCLU, but I don’t think my skills and availability suit their needs, alas. If I’m going to serve the world, then perhaps my best path is imagining my way to a better future. (I’m working on that.) Meanwhile, there’s always more calling my congresspeople to do. And voting. Always voting. (I registered as a Democrat for the first time this year, after staying as an Independent since I was 18. It felt like it was about time.)

One thing is abundantly clear, in any event. The overall volume of work I’ve put out this year is unsustainably high, and I’m going to need to think some hard thoughts about how to more efficiently direct my efforts going forward. Especially because...

Health and Wellness

This was not a super great health year for me. I took a tumble down the stairs at Confusion early in 2017. Inauguration weekend, in fact. Two sprained ankles and a bruise turned into an antibiotic-resistant infection, and it seems the antibiotic that finally killed it may have also killed my Achilles’ tendons, which did not become apparent until I sharply increased my swimming length dramatically in June. (Magnesium supplements are apparently a miracle cure for me where five weeks of physical therapy was not.)

On top of that, I burned both ends of the candle very hard over the summer and through October to hit a cascading series of deadlines and other commitments, the net result of which was losing several weeks to a series of respiratory infections ultimately followed by several more weeks of asthma in which I could not so much as walk across the room at a normal pace without causing a sharp spike in my heart rate.

I have learned a lesson from that, and the lesson is that sleep is important, and I am no longer 24, and I need to be more cautious with my body if I want it, and ergo me, to stick around for the long haul.

What’s On Deck in 2018? 

Wow, I’m not sure. This is the first time in a long time I’ve stared at a new year without a long list of things I want to accomplish. I’m just... really tired, friends. Really, really tired.  Trying to hold up the foundations of the world takes a lot out of you, I guess. Plus, uh, all the work.

I want to write a novel for real in 2018, and I’ve made some thousands of words of progress in that direction. I want to do another season of Lucy Smokeheart, very, very much, and I think a lot of you want me to do that, too. I’m going to Confusion again in January, and then after that... ???

Aside from all that, I genuinely don’t know what I want or where I should go. Do I want to try to break into VR? Or put together a team to make some indie games? Do I want to start building a full-on transmedia franchise? Break into film? Should I just focus on prose writing? Build a direct-to-Kindle erotica empire? Should I quietly shut down all of my digital presences and take up a more serene life as a yoga instructor instead? Ha ha ha just kidding. Probably.

Well, I guess we’ll all find out together. Hit me, 2018. I’ll be ready for you.


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Launch Day for ReMade Season 2!

It’s here, it’s here! Today I am tickled to announce the launch of ReMade Season 2. Just to catch you up, ReMade is the sci-fi YA post-apocalyptic serial I’ve been working on over at Serial Box, along with Matt Cody, E.C. Myers, Gwenda Bond, and Amy Rose Capetti (plus season one’s emeritus writers, Kiersten White and Carrie Harris!) It’s like a season of TV — short ebooks or audio books that come out each Wednesday. Starting... today!

I have the tremendous honor and anxiety of getting the very first episode of the season, and it’s a pretty big shift in gears from where we left off — you’ll see what I mean. But all of the things I love about ReMade are even bigger this season: the characters, the relationships, the murderbots, the SF setting.

Episode 1, Patch Job, is available for 100% free right now, to read or to listen, so you should definitely hop on that. And you can still catch up on all of Season 1 on podcast, too. Let me know what you think!


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Miss Congeniality (After A Word From Our Sponsor)

OK first two quick promotional items: one, Season 1 of ReMade is on sale for $4.99! Look, they made a gif and everything!

IMG_0058.GIF

And two, on Halloween I’m going to randomly give away Season 1 of a Bookburners to ten lucky subscribers to my blog/newsletter hybrid, in a transparent effort to boost my numbers. Mmmm, marketing!

But I can’t just market at you, because this is not what friends do. So instead I’d like to talk about Miss Congeniality, which I saw this weekend for the first time since it came out in theaters.  (Yes, I saw it in a theater.)

 

Movie Thoughts With Andrea

Miss Congeniality is very, very much an artifact of its time. It’s trying hard to do the same things that Legally Blonde did in terms of Grrl Power and social justice, but it has the same muddled stance on it that, frankly, I remember having at the time my own self, and that’s where a lot of its humor is meant to come from. 

I mean, the core conflict is the tension over being a strong-with-the-punching and empowered woman, or living up to an arbitrary beauty ideal. The movie tries to suggest you can do both without giving up the core of who you are. And it tries to show that the society of women can be special, but it doesn’t really earn that. I’d have liked to see the pageant contestants step up into a strong-with-the-punching role as well. Hey, maybe that’s what happens in the sequel? Maybe I’ll have to watch it.

We also have brief mentions of gay and lesbian relationships! Yay, representation! But with a particularly Year 2000 sensibility: a nervous laugh, ha ha this is a thing! Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s not unlike how we see a lot of trans representation done right now in mainstream media. The same nervous laugh, the acknowledgement that this is a way that some people are, and it makes some other people very nervous. But we’re pretty far past that for gay people now, which gives me hope that we’ll get that way for trans rights as well. The window is shifting.

The one thing that surprised me on a rewatch is that the cast is fairly diverse... but there’s no mention of racism at all. Since race is the elephant in the room in the year 2017, that was a little weird and jarring. Maybe that shows we’ve come a long way, too, since there is at least a public conversation about that now?

All that said, Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens is a much more interesting riff on beauty pageant culture, since it’s more from the POV of the actual contestants, and therefore has much less “ha ha can you believe it?! BUTT GLUE!” So maybe read that one instead.

Annnnnnnnnd that’s it for right now. Getting ready to head out to Switzerland. You’ll hear from me soon! 


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Switzerland Bound

I’m going to Zurich next week! I’ll be delivering a keynote and a workshop about transmedia storytelling* to the film educators of CILECT, a consortium of film and television schools.  If any of you will be there, please come and say hello! I’m not sure if I’ll know anyone at this particular conference, and I’m always a bit nervous going into rooms full of strangers.

My hosts tell me there will be a river cruise on the first night, serving fondue. Twice now they have asked me, anxiously, “Do you eat cheese?” 

Friends, I am going to eat all the cheese in Switzerland. And then purchase a cuckoo clock? Isn’t that what you do in Switzerland? Is there something amazing in Zurich I should be doing that I might not know about? Besides the cheese?

And I’ll likely take a million photos while I’m there, then share only the good ones with you here. It’s going to be great! 

 

* This may seem at odds with my declaration that I’m giving up the punditing business; but in this case, I’m talking about very specific, practical elements of craft, which continues to delight me.  No snake oil here, folks!

 


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