Friday, May 9, 2014

A HEART FOR COPPER: A "pick your path" steampunk romance

For about six months now, I've been working with an interactive fiction site called SilkWords. I met up with the site's founders at their first focus group. I thought they had a great idea, and I was looking for editing work. It turned out to be a match made in heaven.

SilkWords' founders are Keri and Boyd Multerer, a wife-and-husband team. Boyd founded Xbox Live and was the director of development for Microsoft's Xbox One. Keri (who has a background in environmental science and genetics, how geektastic is that?) is a mom of three who knows that for many women, reading for fun is a luxury not often savored. The Multerers' goal with SilkWords was to provide a fun, interactive, and emotionally satisfying entertainment option that doesn’t require a huge time commitment. 

SilkWords was born this past Valentine's Day. I've been working with the Multerers as their partner and senior editor, setting editorial direction and vetting submissions (and pretty much anything else that needs doing because this IS a startup). I've also been itching to try my hand at a "pick your path" story (many of you are probably familiar with Choose Your Own Adventure stories from childhood), and as my book tour for THE OPHELIA PROPHECY wound down, I made it a priority.

Today my first "pick your path" story goes live. It's also the first short story I've written since my contract with Tor. Here's a little bit about A HEART FOR COPPER, whose heroine is a sort of Pinocchio / Tinman mashup (though nicer to look at):

An automaton created by an inventor's son, Copper has finally been given a heart by her young master. Her choice of whether to keep the key or give it to him will decide her fate in this steampunk fairy tale. 


A Heart for Copper cover
"A Heart for Copper" artwork by Indie Designz.
Read the story for $1.99, or by subscription to SilkWords.
One of the things I enjoy about writing and reading "pick your path" is you don't know for sure what to expect. We only require one HEA per story (though typically stories have more than one), which leaves the author free to explore multiple possibilities. Also makes it kind of fun as the reader, trying to pick the right path to the true romance ending. We are looser about erotica submissions, requiring only one positive or hopeful ending. Anything with at least one HEA is labeled romance.

In COPPER, this flexibility allowed me to fully explore consequences of the first choice point, which is a play on choosing the dark or light side of the force (the quick/easy v. the hard).

If you're interested in A HEART FOR COPPER or other SilkWords stories (including DANGEROUS RENDEZVOUS by The Galaxy Express's Heather Massey), you can read all the introductions free (up to the first choice point). To read more you either buy the story (my story and Heather's are $1.99) or sign up for a subscription. SilkWords also offers at least one free story a month for folks who create a free membership.

The Science Fiction Romance Brigade's bundle in the Brenda Novak auction includes a year-long subscription to SilkWords. And SilkWords is also offering a year-long subscription coupled with a year of Godiva chocolate in a separate listing ("A Year of Romance").

Bid at: http://brendanovak.auctionanything.com/
SilkWords is an exciting idea and has been a super fun endeavor. When I first heard about it I couldn't believe no one had done choice-based stories for romance, the most popular fiction genre. And erotica? Boy is it a natural for this format (MF? FF? MFM? Bondage? Domination?). Future phases of the site will expand the interactive reading experience to include reader and author interaction, with the goal of building a community around the concept. We're also looking at publishing connected stories, set in the same world but written by different authors. The possibilities are endless, really.

Did you read CYOA stories as a kid? (I know my books were dog-eared.) Have you written a CYOA? 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments set on moderation - all spammers will be exterminated!