In April of 2008, Happy Cog Studios got an intriguing e-mail from Lisa Holton of Fourth Story Media. That e-mail led us to one of the most content-focused projects I’ve ever had the pleasure of working on, and today, our 15 months of collaboration has turned into a real live site: the Amanda Project. Officially, the Amanda Project is:

…the story of Amanda Valentino, told through an interactive website and book series for readers aged 13 & up. On the website, readers are invited to become a part of the story as they help the main characters search for Amanda.

My own (totally unofficial) elevator/Readercon hallway pitch goes something like this: It’s a book series and a website and a few other things besides. Think Veronica Mars by way of The Westing Game, except that we’re actively soliciting in-character, reader-created stories and art, some of which will be folded into the official printed books and into the online stories. (And if our beta testing period is anything to go on,  these readers are extraordinarily cool.) The first book, by the fabulous Melissa Kantor, is forthcoming from Harper Collins in September; the web stories are live now for members* of

I can never say enough about the people I work with at Happy Cog. They’re amazing. I am so lucky to be working with them. And these Fourth Story people? They’re some of the sharpest, coolest, most delightful clients I could imagine.

Which leads me to my second bit of news. When Lisa and co. invited me to join Fourth Story’s staff to organize web projects and lead community management for the Amanda Project, I said O YES INDEED. I’ll still be working on content strategy with Happy Cog, and I’m still doing freelance editorial work. But now I’m also a key-carrying member of the Amanda Project crew.

Come play with us!

* Registration is free, and is there to help keep our youngest reader-contributors safe.