Shameless Self-Promotion

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!


Get the Serial Box App for iOS | Android Coming Soon

Subscribe to the Season ebook & audio ($21.99 for 15 episodes)

Or Buy Single Episodes for Kindle | iBooks | Kobo | Nook ($1.99)

End of an Era

No, no, not Deus Ex Machinatio; just another milestone in the career of a freelancer. Not a happy one, but without the valleys, the peaks would not be such a victory, would they?

For the last two years and more, I've been working on a long-term project with a private client dedicated to making an immersive narrative-driven Airsoft environment. Think of it as live-action steampunk Call of Duty, and you'd be in the right general ballpark. Alas, this project has run out of funding without ever getting its legs under it.

It's been a wild two years. In that time I created models for a game economy, trying to calculate how much physical currency to create and in what denominations. I fine-tuned rules for basic Airsoft play governing how to handle injuries, hospitals, vehicles, and more. I designed play scenarios that could adapt to fluctuating numbers of players and multiple factions, and with a variety of goals to keep play fresh. I created history and storylines for the world this took place in; actually I did that a few times, as our vision gradually shifted. I storyboarded and scripted and wrote fictional news articles; I even collaborated on the design of some room escape games conceived as part of a side business.

It was a really interesting project, and I'm sad that some of those ideas will never get their tires kicked hard enough to know how solidly I built them. It's not the first time I've done work that will never see an audience, and I'm sure not the last time, either. That's business, I suppose.

But alas, having your most reliable long-term client run out of funding puts quite a hole in your budget, it turns out. So this is me putting up the Bat-signal: I'm looking for new projects, and I'd appreciate it if you'd pass on my name should you hear of anything I could help to make better. I'm a big believer that 90% of being lucky is keeping your mind open, so I'm willing to consider all kinds of possibilities. Let me know?


Get the Serial Box App for iOS | Android Coming Soon

Subscribe to the Season ebook & audio ($21.99 for 15 episodes)

Or Buy Single Episodes for Kindle | iBooks | Kobo | Nook ($1.99)

ReMade Season 1

I'm a little late to the announcement here, but I promise you this one's worth the wait. A while back I talked about one of the serials I was working on, Bookburners. I joined that one in the second season as a pitch hitter, so while I love it madly, I wasn't nervous about sending it into the wild. The concept had already had its road test and we knew it could go fast.

But I was at the very first ReMade story summit, and had a part in shaping it from the very skeleton. It's a very different emotional dynamic. And it's a very different story.

Every minute, 108 people die. This fall, in one of those minutes, twenty-three of those deaths will be teenagers. Now they are humanity’s last hope for survival. Awakened in a post-apocalyptic world and hunted by mechanical horrors, these teens search for answers amidst the ruins of civilization. Fate, love, and loyalty face off in this adrenaline-pumping YA adventure.

Written By: Matthew Cody, Kiersten White, E.C. Myers, Andrea Phillips, Carrie Harris, and Gwenda Bond

I've done some of the best writing of my life for this serial, hands down, and these characters are so richly textured and diverse that I could just die from pride. I love every one of them. This season I'm primarily writing a character named May, an overachiever with a plan for every occasion and a serious food allergy, and representing food allergies is pretty important to me. But the rest of the cast are every bit is fascinating, and I can't wait for you to get to know them all.

Listen, this is going to be a wild ride, and you're not going to want to miss a second of it. Pinky promise. And I'm not the only one who thinks so. 

If you're not sold yet, you can read the first episode to get a taste—but trust me when I say it gets better and better every second until the end. As of this week, we're three episodes in and absolutely off to the races. There's a new episode every Wednesday from now until December 21. Go on, subscribe to the season now. I promise you'll love it.


Get the Serial Box App for iOS | Android Coming Soon

Subscribe to the Season ebook & audio ($21.99 for 15 episodes)

Or Buy Single Episodes for Kindle | iBooks | Kobo | Nook ($1.99)

MidAmeriCon2: Worldcon 2016

AWWWW YEAH I'M GOING BACK TO WORLDCON!

I have once again fooled the Worldcon programming folks into thinking I am a person of wit and notability, and as a result I have a freakin' amazing bunch of programming this year! And not just panelling, either. I have a kaffeeklatsch (which you'll need to sign up for in advance if you want to attend), a reading, and an autographing session. Wowzers!

Incidentally, autograph sessions can be lonely and demoralizing when you're a new author like myself and don't exactly have lines going out the door. (Or, uh lines at all...) So if you're free late Sunday morning, I'd be delighted to have you stop by to say hello and chat for a while. You don't even need to have or buy anything for me to sign! I am more than happy to sign nothing at all. Or if you really, really want me to sign something for you, I'll have a few postcards to give away, free of charge.

Please note that there are sometimes last-minute changes to programming, so double-check to be sure nothing's moved in space and time. But for now, this is my schedule:

Driverless Cars

Wednesday 16:00 - 17:00, 2206 (Kansas City Convention Center)
Self-driving cars are being tested on our roads, but it's not clear the public would buy one if available. Who do we trust with the design and production? The challenges -- potential hacks, electrical storms, malfunction or apocalypse -- and opportunities -- to empower people with disabilities, for example -- are discussed.
Andrea Phillips, Howard Davidson, Dr. Jordin Kare

Writing Games in Fiction

Thursday 14:00 - 15:00, 2204 (Kansas City Convention Center)
From Azad to Armada, fictional games, gaming and gamers are an increasingly visible part of our SF landscape, offering us complex characters and interesting discussions of how gaming is becoming an integral part of our lives. Our panel discuss how these representations present gaming to a wider audience.
Becky Chambers, Andrea Phillips, James Cambias (M), Peter Tieryas, Tim Akers

The Future is a Different Country

Friday 12:00 - 13:00, 2208 (Kansas City Convention Center)
How will stuff (culture/tech/etc.) change in the next 40 years? Can we really predict with any sense of accuracy or will there be a singularity of some sort that makes all predictions worthless? Our panel predicts anyway, and wonders what their writing and creative practice will look like as a result.
Andrea Phillips, Edward M. Lerner, Kathleen Ann Goonan (M), Patrick Nielsen Hayden

Kaffeeklatsch

Friday 13:00 - 14:00, 2211 (KKs) (Kansas City Convention Center)
James Cambias, Toni L. P. Kelner, Andrea Phillips

My Transmedia Life

Friday 15:00 - 16:00, 2208 (Kansas City Convention Center)
Authoring is not a stale business. Today's writers are finding new ways to reach audiences, making interactive websites, podcasts, trailers and games to represent or enhance their worlds and characters. Panellists discuss ways that they build transmedia works and take their literature into the realm of games, video and visual arts.
Christopher Kastensmidt, Andrea Phillips, Katie Li

Futurism vs. SF

Friday 18:00 - 19:00, 2209 (Kansas City Convention Center)
Science Fiction explores the future.  Futurism explores the future and tries to relate it to the real world.  What causes someone to be a Futurist rather than a science fiction author?  Where are the overlaps and the differences between the two practices?
S.B. Divya (M), Karl Schroeder, Andrea Phillips, David Brin

Societal Aspects of Technology

Saturday 13:00 - 14:00, 2208 (Kansas City Convention Center)
If your cellphone died would you be late for work? When your power goes out, would you dispair for entertainment? In a world where people are digitally dependent, what will happen when energy fails us? Downton Abbey dramatized the advent of home electricity, the telephone and the radio. How did those advances change social lives? Instead of bringing us together, have phones increase our isolation? We discuss how technology changes the way people communicate and relate in society. 
Mike Shepherd Moscoe, Andrea Phillips, Edward M. Lerner (M), Karl Schroeder, David Brin

Magazine Group Reading: Escape Artists, Inc.

Saturday 14:00 - 15:00, 2502A (Kansas City Convention Center)
Our Magazine Group Reading Series continues with a special group reading that features authors from the family of Escape Artists magazines.
Alasdair Stuart (M), Marguerite Kenner (M), Dr. Amy H. Sturgis, Andrea Phillips, Bud Sparhawk, Scott Edelman

Autograph Session

Sunday 11:00 - 12:00 (Autographing Space) (Kansas City Convention Center)
Kate Elliott, Melissa F. Olson, Robert Reed, Robert J, Sawyer, Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, Andrea Phillips

Reading

Sunday 14:30 - 15:00, 2202 (Readings) (Kansas City Convention Center)

Annnnnd that's it. Worldcon, get ready, this is going to be great! Just one more thing to work out: what the heck am I going to wear...?


Get the Serial Box App for iOS | Android Coming Soon

Subscribe to the Season ebook & audio ($21.99 for 15 episodes)

Or Buy Single Episodes for Kindle | iBooks | Kobo | Nook ($1.99)

Readercon 2016

This is big news, you guys. ENORMOUS. I'm going to be at Readercon this year, and—this is the big news part—I'll be doing my first-ever fiction reading. I can't decide what I should read from! An upcoming ReMade episode? The Luck Eaters? A short story to be named later? Ahhhhhhh so many options!

Anyway, here's my (possibly still preliminary) schedule. Please, please flag me down and say hello if you're at the con. It's going to be so great!

Thursday July 07

8:00 PM    5    Living in the Future. John Chu, Barbara Krasnoff (moderator), Andrea Phillips, Tom Purdom, Terence Taylor. Today, if we're going to see another person, we have cellphones to instantly communicate with that person, and maps on the cellphones to help us find our agreed-upon location. Twenty years ago we would have had to phone each other on landlines, pick a restaurant in advance or agree to meet at a landmark known to both of us. Five hundred years ago we wouldn't have had watches on our persons, so even keeping to the correct time of the appointment would have been difficult–how would we even know when the agreed-upon time of our meeting arrived? Our panelists will discuss some of the conveniences, large and small, that we take for granted, and the absence of which would cause difficulties of the sort that are often elided in fiction. The discussion will also discuss science fiction novels and stories that incorporate and project modern technology into their fictions, and which fail to take these things into account. 

Friday July 08

1:30 PM    A    Reading: Andrea Phillips. Andrea Phillips. Andrea Phillips reads new work. (!!!)

3:00 PM    C    Fantastical Dystopia. Victoria Janssen, Ada Palmer, Andrea Phillips, Sabrina Vourvoulias, T.X. Watson. Dystopia is popular in YA fiction for a variety of reasons, but why do authors frequently base their future dystopian society on some flimsy ideas, rather than using history to draw parallels between past atrocities and current human rights violations? Is it easier to work from one extreme idea, such as "love is now considered a disease" rather than looking at the complexities of, for example, the corruption of the U.S.S.R or the imperialism of the US? If science fiction uses the future to look at the present, is it more or less effective when using real examples from the past to look at our present through a lens of the future?

5:00 PM    BH    WTF is Transmedia?. Andrea Phillips. Quick answer: transmedia storytelling is the art of using multiple platforms to tell a unified story. Sometimes it looks like the MCU, and sometimes it's stories that infiltrate the real world. Transmedia veteran Andrea Phillips will talk about her years as a pioneer in the transmedia mines, and how it made her a better writer–and a worse one!

Saturday July 09

1:00 PM    5    If Thor Can Hang Out with Iron Man, Why Can't Harry Dresden Use a Computer? . Gillian Daniels, Elaine Isaak, Andrea Phillips, Alex Shvartsman, E.J. Stevens. In a series of tweets in 2015, Jared Axelrod pondered "the inherent weirdness of a superhero universe... where magic and science hold hands, where monsters stride over cities." This is only weird from the perspective of fantasy stories that set up magic and technology as incompatible, an opposition that parallels Western cultural splits between religion and science and between nature and industry. Harry Dresden's inability to touch a computer without damaging it is a direct descendant of the Ents destroying the "pits and forges" of Isengard, and a far cry from Thor, Iron Man, and the Scarlet Witch keeping company. What are the story benefits of setting up magic/nature/religion and technology/industry/science as either conflicting or complementary? What cultural anxieties are addressed by each choice? How are these elements handled in stories from various cultures and eras?

3:00 PM    C    What Good Is a Utopia? . Michael J. Deluca, Chris Gerwel, Barry Longyear, Kathryn Morrow (leader), Andrea Phillips. If an author sets out to write a utopia, several questions arise. Character and interpersonal conflict can drive the story, but how do you keep the utopian setting from becoming backdrop in that case? Were the Talking Heads right in saying that "Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens"? And how do you showcase how much better things would be "if only"?


Get the Serial Box App for iOS | Android Coming Soon

Subscribe to the Season ebook & audio ($21.99 for 15 episodes)

Or Buy Single Episodes for Kindle | iBooks | Kobo | Nook ($1.99)