I'll start with the one in production, "Transfixed." As you know, the first half of the story is already on sale as an independent ebook with a semi-cliffhanger ending. But the thing about the cliffhanger is that you already know you can resolve it in whatever way you please, because the sequel is a "Choose Your Own Adventure." If you want to save Character A, who got enslaved in Part 1, you can save them - and you can also save Characters B, C, D, and so on. You can save everybody, if you do it right. Or if you prefer, you can doom everybody to a life of blissful slavery. Whatever floats your boat. My point here is that you shouldn't be afraid to buy Part 1 before Part 2 comes out. You can already imagine whatever finale you like and know that you can make it happen. Meanwhile, you've got a 77-page all-new story with lots of hot sex and creepy brainwashing bugs.
You'll also be pleased to know that I have an enthusiastic new volunteer (in additional to my usual cohorts) helping me brainstorm plot threads for the "Transfixed" CYOA. That means I'll be able to get up and running pretty fast. At this point I have a clear idea of the overall picture and several interesting story paths, and I'm just working out the fine details before I start writing. I think I'll be able to put this one together much faster than What Do You Give the Alien Who Has Everything?, partly because of my volunteers and partly because this time I know what the hell I'm doing.
So, moving on to "Alien," it has come to my attention that some readers who think they've read the book pretty thoroughly still haven't found the game-changing hidden plot line; and that makes me wonder what else readers might have missed. Well, the book's been out for over a year now, so I thought I'd give you a few helpful hints. Only the last one is a real spoiler, so I'll put it in spoiler text. You can read the other bullets points freely - and refer to the map above to refresh your memory of what's where.
- I intentionally built this story in a way that forces you to follow many paths and interview many people to get the whole story about the Imperators.
- Visit each location more than once and make different choices each time. There's no way you can gather all the important information in one walk-through; and aside from the statuary, every location has at least one "lesson" you can't get anywhere else.
- You can interview the Imperators in detail if you can make it into the observatory, but you have to ask the right questions before they'll let you even start to interview them, and you can't trust everything they tell you. To get the true story in all its dirty details, you'll have to find that hidden thread.
- There's no advantage to choosing one reporter or orientation over another, but there's exactly one choice where the guide you picked could make a difference.
- No doubt you'll make a lot of bad choices and end up getting sent to the brainwashing chamber a lot. When this happens, don't skip past the text without reading it each time. There are lots of different ways you can be transformed in those chambers, and everything depends on who sent you there and why. My personal favorite result is getting turned into a mer-person.
- And now here, in spoiler text, are the directions for finding the secret story line. Just be warned: it's a game-changer, but it's also a game in itself, and it's not easy to win. All I'm telling you here is how to start playing. Highlight the next bit to find out: [Go to the lily pond, let the mer-people grab you and take you under, but don't fight them a second time. Instead, look for a hatch in the pond wall.]