Stitch Media

Circus of Mirrors is Here!

It's been a long journey, but I am absolutely delighted to say that Circus of Mirrors, the interactive children's book I've created with Stitch Media, is now available for sale. I couldn't be happier about it!

Circus of Mirrors is basically a parent-run alternate reality game for kids. That means the story isn't just something the child reads; they get to be a part of it! Each adventure kit includes eight separately bound chapters, and in between each chapter the child is given an activity that puts them at the center of the story. Mazes, riddles, crafts, letters and phone calls all play a part. Oh, and the illustrations? Why yes, that is Mike Holmes of Adventure Time fame!

I'm going to have more to say about Circus in the coming weeks—I especially want to tell you how incredible it was to see my own daughter go through this experience. In my shoes, it's easy to forget how magical it is when the story world first reaches out and touches you. But it really, truly is... magic.

Oh, and I'm still incredibly proud of the Bearded Man. I giggle like a fool thinking about him, even now!

You'll be hearing a lot more about Circus of Mirrors in the weeks to come. But for now I thought I'd send up a flare and let you know this is a real thing that you can buy right now with your own money! And the holidays are coming up real fast. If you know what I mean.

And what I mean is, buy Circus of Mirrors for the chapter book readers in your life for the winter holiday of your choice. I pinky swear you won't regret it!


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Closing Out 2012

That 2012, man. It's been a hell of a year, hasn't it? A hurricane in Manhattan, an election, the Olympics. Disney buying Lucasfilm. A South Korean pop star taking the world by storm. It's been one for the record books, I'd say.

A lot of people I know have had a terrible 2012, but actually... I think I had a pretty great year. I think? Let's boogie on down Memory Boulevard and take a look at all the stuff I did in 2012.

Invisible Projects

Through the first half of the year, I was incredibly frustrated, because I was getting a steady flow of projects... but nothing ever launched. 

A game for a Fortune 500 company that hasn't seen light of day, and as far as I know, may never; a prototype for a human rights game that never went on to further funding; a fair smattering of pitches that never went anywhere. It was kind of a downer, after 2011's eight launches in three months. It happens a lot, I know, but I'm not accustomed to doing much work that never makes it out the door. Spoiled rotten, I am.

All of the work in the world doesn't matter if you don't ship.

Bright Spots

But I did get to do quite a lot of work I'm proud of, particularly in the second half of the year. Perhaps the most notable was Is It a Deadly Affair? for Investigation Discovery. I'm still ridiculously proud of that structure, from both an implementation and a narrative perspective. I also got to contribute to a couple of Campfire projects, always a fantastic experience and a polished result -- The Wow! Reply for National Geographic's show Chasing UFOs, and Pledge your Allegiance for HBO's Game of Thrones. 

And this year, Naomi Alderman brought me in on a few things as well; another prototype, this one for an as-yet-unreleased fitness game (so many!), plus interval training missions for Zombies, Run! which also haven't been released yet, but I am 100% confident that it will happen!

Oh Yeah, That Thing

And then, of course, there was A Creator's Guide to Transmedia Storytelling. It's sort of cheating to chalk it up to 2012, because the writing was all done by Halloween of 2011. But in early 2012 there were still photo permissions and copyedits to sort out, plus June brought... promotion. Sooooo much promotion. Speaking and podcasts and interviews and articles. I'm going to have to properly collect some of that, eventually. And I guess update my projects list with stuff I've done this year, too. Wanion!

The book got a tremendous and flattering reception. I got to launch at Film Society of Lincoln Center! People tell me they like it! And I'm led to believe that it's on the curricula of courses at Columbia, Rutgers, USC, and several other universities. I'm secretly hoping that in next year's roundup, I'll be able to link to a bunch of projects made by people inspired or influenced by my book; helping people to make more and better work was, after all, the whole idea.

Original Work

In my heart, A Creator's Guide is linked with the idea of owning a stake in your work, flying your own flag, putting some skin in the game. This year, I made several steps in that direction -- more than I had thought myself until I started tallying up the score.

First, you may remember that Stitch Media announced the children's book Circus of Mirrors, my contribution to their forthcoming Imaginary Friends line, for which work is ongoing. You guys, I can't wait for the frabjous day when we can show it to you. 

Balance of Powers, the collaborative Kickstarted occult Cold War thriller, also finally launched in August after several painful and ultimately expensive months of trying to figure out how to make a small international business partnership on the legit. The plot has recently very much thickened, so it's a great time to take a look.

There is exactly one notable thing I did this year entirely on my own. Late in 2011, I ransomed a short story on Kickstarter. Early this year, I e-published the rewards from that as Shiva's Mother and Other Stories. This was a tremendous step for me. For all that I've professionally written hundreds of thousands of words, this was the first time I'd ever put just-my-own no-collaborators original fiction out in the world for other people to look at. It's a moody, kind of strange little collection of stories, which is fitting, because I am myself moody and more than a little strange. I'd be delighted if you picked it up and let me know what you think. It's only 99 cents!

Oh, and I, uh, started a vlog?

And last but by no means least, in late March, I started a blog series called Making Felicity, about my transmedia YA serial fiction project. I fleshed out the parameters in public view, but it took me a good long while to get rolling after that, because (see above) I had a lot on my plate.

That ball is inexorably rolling forward now. Behind the scenes, the cogs to make Felicity happen are turning, while I wait here and chew my nails and try not to obsess about it. I don't want to go into specifics because I don't want to jinx anything, but... the process has begun. 

And for 2013?

I'm still thinking about what I want for next year, and how exactly I'm going to go after it. I mean, obviously I want to land a fat nine-figure deal for Felicity and devote my life to her, but that's... shall we say... implausible.

I have a few very promising projects in my pipeline, too, though nothing set in stone (or writing, if you prefer), so if you've ever wanted to hire me, now is a good time to reach out.

Meanwhile, I think maybe I've earned a break. So for the rest of 2012, I'm going to read books, play games, and let the ol' brain-batteries recharge so I can do it all again next year.

Joy and felicitations to you. Here's hoping you had a wonderful 2012, too. Failing that, a colossal and magnificent 2013.


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Circus of Mirrors

Yesterday, something intensely exciting landed on YouTube -- a trailer for Circus of Mirrors, the book I've written for Imaginary Friend Books!

This project is very special to me for many, many reasons, not least of which is that the Bearded Man is quite possibly the best character I have ever created. I LOVE THE BEARDED MAN SO MUCH YOU GUYS.

And this video is very special to me because holy smokes, was that a good hair day or what?

But seriously -- Imaginary Friend Books as a whole and Circus of Mirrors in specific have been a delight to work on, I am crazy proud of both of them, and I simply can't wait to show them to the world. Stay tuned!


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Drunk and On Drugs

Did I say I was done launching projects for a while? Silly me. Of course you should have known better than to believe me when I say something like that.

...If you are easily offended, kindly divert your browser elsewhere right now.

Last summer, I had the privilege of working with Stitch Media on the interactive component of The Drunk and On Drugs Happy Funtime Hour.

My involvement may surprise some of you, given my well-established idealism. So why did I take this particular project? Well, because I love Stitch and I love working with them, because it sounded like a fun stretch from my usual stuff, and -- not to put too fine a point on it -- because I didn't have another contract lined up at the time. A girl's gotta eat.

I don't regret it for a second, though. I think the team did some incredible work and I'm fiercely proud of what we built together. I'm also pretty sure I did some of the funniest writing in my career for this thing.

Unfortunately most of it is geolocked to Canada -- but check out what you can, have a great time, and let me know what you think!


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Xenophile & Stitch up for Banff Awards

I'd like to offer my congratulations to my colleagues in Canada who have received Banff World Television Award nominations.

Stitch Media is nominated in the category of mobile program enhancement forThe Border: Interactive, and Xenophile Media is nominated in the category of interactive program enhancement for "Total Drama Island."

Great work, guys. Here's hoping for big wins!


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Get the Serial Box App for iOS | Android Coming Soon