Diamond Rewards and Key Timers

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Hi everyone,

Some of you may have noticed that your end of chapter rewards, featured page, browse page, and/or rewards page may have changed. Here's why that is:

We're always testing different aspects of Choices to give our players (you!) the best experience. While most changes eventually filter out to the community as a whole, we generally try to leave new players with the same diamond rewards and key timers that they started out with, because we think that's the least disruptive.

Recently, we hit a snag. 

We're working on some cool new features that will offer more diamond rewards and maybe even unlimited chapter plays. While working on the designs, we realized that we couldn't actually test them because of the many, many pre-existing tests. (Some of the tests go back to early 2017!)

As a consequence, we've had to consolidate most players into the majority experience. Obviously, this rollout hasn't been as seamless as we'd like. This is mostly due to some technological constraints that caught us off guard, but we also recognize that we could've done a better job communicating the changes to the community. We're sorry about that.

As of now, most players should be seeing (or should be seeing soon):

  • 3 hour key timers

  • 2 diamond chapter rewards

  • 22 hour reward timers (Free, Ad, Ad, Ad -- for 5 bonus diamonds total per 22 hours)

Thank you for your patience while we get this sorted out. Unraveling all of the existing test groups has been tough.

Lastly, later this year, some players may start seeing those cool new features I mentioned earlier. We really hope they work out. If they work, we'll be able to open up the Choices platform to new genres and new types of stories, as well as more of your current favorites.

Thank you for playing!

Royal

Three Years of Choices

Day One of Choices!

Day One of Choices!

Tomorrow will mark the three year anniversary of Choices! It feels like only yesterday, all of us on the Pixelberry team were anxiously checking our phones, waiting for Choices to show up for the very first time in the Google Play and App Store. Time sure flies! 

Celebrating our one year anniversary in 2017…

Celebrating our one year anniversary in 2017…

Over the years, we've launched a whole library of stories, revamped the Choices app, and expanded the tiny team we started out with. It's definitely been a busy few years, but every minute of it has been amazing -- especially since we have an incredible community of readers on this journey with us! Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for joining us. 

Desserts, office hijinks, and of course, who can forget the adorable ducklings in the courtyard?

Desserts, office hijinks, and of course, who can forget the adorable ducklings in the courtyard?

As we launch into our fourth (!!) year for Choices, we've got plenty of exciting plans for the future: New app features, new stories, and much, much more. If you've ever taken the time to message us with your feedback or send along an encouraging comment, thank you (times a thousand)! Every one of those messages is crucial to what we do here at Pixelberry... 

Now, as promised, here's a look ahead to what we have planned for the second half of 2019 and beyond:

First up, just a quick reminder that Mother of the Year is premiering on August 30th. You won't want to miss this heartwarming take on motherhood. And stay tuned for our upcoming cover reveal for the wedding edition of America's Most Eligible. That's coming out in September!

Speaking of sequels: Yes, Open Heart: Book 2 launches later this year! It'll cover your second year of residency with more drama, high-stakes cases, romance and heartbreak. Plus, you'll be getting an intern of your own. Also launching later this year is High School Story: Class Act, Book 3! With both prom and the spring musical trip coming up, there's more fun and drama than ever before. Also: Skye fans... get ready! 

What about brand new books? Don't worry, we've got those, too! Make wedding dreams come true as a wedding planner in Save the Date! Looking for something nautical? Set sail for adventure and romance in Distant Shores. Play as the heroine or hero of your very own journey on the high seas. Here's an extra early look at a few members of your pirate crew: 

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Your next epic fantasy is also on the way! Travel with your party of adventurers across the Kingdom of Morella to defeat the forces of the Shadow Court in Blades of Light and Shadow. Not only can you play as an elf, human or orc, but you'll also be able to define your character in some totally new ways, like choosing your skills! And here's an early sneak peek of two of your party members…

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That's not all! Make your mark in a Renaissance-era court full of friends and enemies, solve mysteries, and more in the coming months. (Our lips are sealed on what else is being worked on, but we promise, you'll love it!)

We say this a lot, but honestly, it can never be said enough: Thank you for playing Choices. Thank you for reading our stories. And thank you for journeying with us as we grow, improve, and learn. Here's to another year of Choices! 

Love, The Pixelberry Team 🍓

Platinum

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Make some noise for... Platinum! While our most musical Choices book is on a mid-season break, we took the chance to nab a few members of the Platinum team for a quick look behind-the-scenes. Platinum is definitely one of our more unique Choices books, not just because of its karaoke potential, but because of how it got made! So, let's get into it:

By now, I think Platinum needs no introduction, but you all do! What do you do at Pixelberry, and specifically on Platinum?

Luke: Hi, I’m Luke, one of the book leads on Platinum! I was previously lead writer on Open Heart, Ride-or-die, Endless Summer, and Most Wanted.

Coco: I'm Coco, the other lead on Platinum! Before this, I was book lead on Perfect Match 1-2 and Rules of Engagement 2-4. On Platinum, my work mainly revolves around editing, re-writing, and incorporating the code/music/art to turn the story into playable chapters for you all!

Daniel: I'm the music director for Pixelberry. Specifically for Platinum, I oversaw the music direction!

Stella: I'm an art producer here at Pixelberry. For Platinum, I handle art production (surprise!) -- scheduling, assisting with requests and feedback for art, and generally just making sure our art team is able to get things done on time for those weekly chapter drops!

How did Platinum get its start? What was the brainstorm journey and creative process like?

Luke: Personally, I've always been a huge fan of Choices’ soundtrack, and we wanted to make something that would really push what our game was capable of, musically. Platinum led to a ton of advances in our music engine (special thanks to our devs!) that other Books in Choices are going to make awesome use of.

First, we brainstormed and outlined the whole story of Platinum in-house. Then, we contracted a freelance writer, Peyton, to write the first draft. Then came the art, the music, the rewrites, the budget (!!!), and putting all the pieces together into the finished product you get to play.

How has Platinum changed from the early days? What's been the most challenging thing about working on Platinum? The most rewarding?

Luke: The toughest part of production by far was the songs: not just working with producers and musicians to make them catchy and believable, but figuring out how to feature them in the middle of an interactive story. But even today I still get some of those songs stuck in my head, and that’s a great feeling. (I’m even teaching myself how to play them on the guitar!)

Coco: In terms of what has changed from the beginning, we brainstormed alternatives to some of the character arcs and endings, especially Jaylen's! We tried to make it more of a nuanced relationship, and you can either encourage the rivalry for fans or treat her as an ally... 

One of the most challenging parts has been keeping track of your fans over the course of the story, which involves a lot of spreadsheets! As for what was rewarding, I enjoyed exploring the different ways the characters try to find their own voices and authenticity in the story. I'm really curious to see what path people take... if their reputation is an Artist, Influencer, or Diva! I also loved seeing all the supportive comments and hearing the song covers that people have created.

Let's talk music. This got answered in last month's general Q&A blog post, but: Can you expand on how the songs in Platinum got made?  

Daniel: It took a lot of collaboration across departments to get these songs made! They started as moods we had for certain points in the story assigned to specific characters, like a fun dance-y song about love by the main character, or an emotional ballad by Avery. Once we had those figured out, we started putting together lyrics with our writers -- thank you to The Freshman and America's Most Eligible writers! -- and composing music with our friends at the Noise Distillery. 

Once we had both of those locked down, we went through a lengthy audition process to find the perfect vocalists for our characters. Then, we got the vocals recorded and polished the tracks in-house. A lot of people put tons of love and work into these songs, and we hope it shows! One of my favorite songs is coming up in a few chapters...

We're all super busy at Pixelberry, but I know art producers are EXTRA busy, so here's a quick question: What's been the most fun part of working on Platinum? And who's your fave character?

Stella: Hard to say... I think the most fun part has been working more collaboratively with the team on creation of the lyrics screens. I was pretty excited to see a set of lyrics with actual vocals in our game for the first time, especially after not really knowing what they'd actually turn out to look like. My favorite character is Hank -- such a tough looking guy with a sweet nature!

Which song in Platinum would you pick to sing during karaoke?

Coco: I love Liar, the first original track of the main character that can be sung to a big audience! It's so catchy!

Luke: Avery’s Lift Me Up. First time I heard it is the first time I thought we might actually pull this book off!

Daniel: I would sing Liar at karaoke! This was the first track we made to see if this whole pop song experiment would be possible, and it's still one of my favorites. It's so catchy and I often find myself in the shower singing, "Why do I love you, all you do is lieeeeee"!

What can readers look forward to in the next few chapters of Platinum? Give us a hint! 

Coco: Everything comes to a head in the last few chapters! You'll attend the biggest awards ceremony in the music industry, go through some obstacles, and try to build yourself up again before the biggest show of your life. Also... the banana suit makes a reappearance. We're excited for you to play it!

You heard it here first! Step back into the spotlight in Platinum on 8/22, when we return with Chapter 12! Ready to sing your heart out?

-Jessica

Saving the Date

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Mark your calendars for... Save the Date, a new Choices book where you'll be delving into the drama and joys of wedding planning! Leave your old job behind to make wedding dreams come true for rockers, zookeepers, and even Ren Faire-goers! Anything can happen, so let the wedding planning begin!

In other news: Platinum is currently on a mid-season break. Don't worry, you'll be back to singing your heart out soon. And America’s Most Eligible: Book 3's launch date is now in September. We're moving things around in our fall and winter schedule, and we want to make sure America's Most Eligible has time to shine -- and that you have an awesome, Choices-filled next few months. Follow along on our social media pages to get the latest news!

Finally... it’s the moment you’ve been waiting for! Continue your regency romance in Desire & Decorum: Book 3, launching this Sunday!

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Aye, but that's not all! There's more to come in the second half of 2019, including a new adventure on the high seas. Here's a lil extra early sneak peek for y'all: 

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That's it for now! As always, message us on Facebook or comment on social media to get in touch with us. We'd love to hear from you -- seriously. Have a lovely, Desire & Decorum-ful weekend!

-Shae

1001 and Pixelberry

Hey everyone! We’ve got a small announcement to make now that this is gaining more attention…

Pixelberry is now working with the upcoming app 1001 to produce adaptations of our properties for Chinese audience. This product will be officially released soon and we are very proud to bring our stories to new friends!

We consider our original Choices books to be the definitive versions. As an interactive-story app operated in China, 1001 will make changes and adaptations for the content released on their platform. These adaptations should be thought of as “inspired by” adaptations for the Chinese market, not straight ports.

We pursued this opportunity with 1001 because it gave us the chance to expand the stories you love to a new audience with a partner who understands their own market best. Along the way, we generated some cool new features that we hope to bring back to Choices.

And that’s pretty much it! This is an official partnership but at Pixelberry, our primary focus is on Choices, just like always!

Coming Up in August

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Our summer here at Pixelberry is wrapping up with a few new August reads! The Edgewater Estate requests the pleasure of your company to celebrate the upcoming nuptials. Your carriage ride awaits in Desire & Decorum: Book 3...

And speaking of weddings, put on your game face and get ready for the heartstopping wedding edition of America's Most Eligible! 

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Of course, we can't forget about our final brand new Choices book of the month: Mother of the Year! Being a single mom isn't easy, but when your daughter gets the chance to attend an elite private school, you move to a new town and make it work... 

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Even more books are hitting the Choices shelves this fall and winter. There'll be brand new stories, and sequels like Open Heart: Book 2. Follow along on our social media for the latest news hot off the Pixelberry press! To everyone heading back to school next month, best of luck. You got this! 

-Shae

Pixelberry Spotlight: QA Team

#TBT to our very first Choices livestream, hosted by QA team member Eddie! Anyone remember this livestream?

#TBT to our very first Choices livestream, hosted by QA team member Eddie! Anyone remember this livestream?

Today on Inside Choices, we're taking you behind-the-scenes with the QA team! What's QA, you ask? Good question, hypothetical Choices reader! QA stands for Quality Assurance. The QA team makes sure that our game doesn't break, catches the writing team's many typos (sorry QA!!), tests new game features, and so much more. They're honestly the MVPs at Pixelberry, and we can't live without them. They're also a ton of fun to talk to! Keep reading to learn more about our intrepid QA team:

First up, we need an introduction. What is being on the QA team all about?

Glenda: Being on the QA team is about caring about the quality of our work and products. Writers and artists work hard on creating interesting, cool stories for players to experience. And QA is just as vital a part of this team effort. We try to ensure that the final product is as polished and awesome as possible!

Josephine: We’re bug catchers! We make sure chapters are in tip-top condition.

What's an average day on the job for the QA team look like? 

Alice: A LOT of testing, with plenty of snack breaks.

Josephine: We get to play your favorite stories over, and over, and over. But it’s not bad, because the writers do such a good job that it’s still super enjoyable every time, like re-reading your favorite book! We become very familiar with the stories, and sometimes we even speculate and theorize with each other.

Izy: At a glance, QA seems like it's just playing your favorite game all day, every day, but there's a lot more to it. We do a ton of investigation into the deeper workings of the game, making sure everything's airtight. We're basically the Endless -- one moment that a player sees once or twice is a scene that we've played through again and again. (And yes, we're always emotional during every sad scene!)

Jon: Every day, we'll play through Choices chapters, reporting any bugs we find. Unfortunately, some bugs do get through QA. When bugs get reported, we recreate them based on the information we're given, then try to get a fix out as soon as possible!

What's the funniest thing you caught in Choices before it went into the world? (And thank you for saving our butts. I feel like that needs to be said.)

Alice: There was one in HSS Book 1 where your character ended up bald...

Rose: A character that was in his underwear for an entire chapter. Inappropriate facial expressions (for instance, the character is smiling while they say a super serious line).

Glenda: Once I found an error where the main character was supposed to reject a potential love interest, but the text contained a double negative, so the line ended up reading like, “I don't not love you"... which was the opposite of the intended meaning! Moral of the story, grammar can either save your life or crush your dreams. Use wisely!

It seems like QA's always up to something fun, whether it's boba runs or quality testing the office water. What's your favorite QA memory?

Kristina: The cookie contest for our Christmas party. I brought in shortbread cookies (my great grandma’s recipe) and had made several dozen, by the end of the day all the cookies were eaten or boxed up to take home and several people were asking for the recipe!

Glenda: Favorite QA moment has got to be hanging out as team. Whether we’re doing yummy team lunches at all-you-can-eat Korean bbq joints or fulfilling our Bob Ross dreams by painting awful landscapes together, I love that we do it as a team.

Let's talk hobbies! What do you enjoy doing in your free time? I know at least one of you bakes delicious bread pudding... *cough*

Josephine: I enjoy drawing! We’re as much of a fan of Choices as you guys are, and I have definitely drawn fanart a few times...

Rose: I've been taking an introductory cognitive science course recently, super interesting!

If you could live in any Choices book, which would it be? 

Kristina: The Crown and the Flame. I LOVE fantasy settings and any world that has dragons, yes please. Specifically, I’d want to live in the Technocrat city and engineer some awesome magitech.

Izy: Wishful Thinking. I'd give the world to be able to talk to my cats!

Jon: I would love to live in The Elementalists world! I'd be able to take a door or mirror to work instantly, enlarge food for more portions, conjure fire to keep warm -- there's so many possibilities... I'd also like to try screaming Yorba eggs. Yum!

Glenda: That’s easy -- The Royal Romance! Who wouldn’t want to be plucked from a routine, mundane existence and thrust into a world of royal balls, fancy castles, centuries-old traditions, fun sidekicks, a dream wedding, and corgis? Cordonia is my alternate universe and I will gladly live there all my days. Please pass the hors d'oeuvres.

A big thank you to QA for taking the time to chat, and for working hard to keep Choices up and running! Corny as it may sound, teamwork truly makes the dream work. 

-Jessica


Summer Reads and Q&A

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It's been a while since our last big update post, so here we are! Let's talk about the elephant, er, cowboy in the room: Big Sky Country: Book 2's launch has been delayed (more on that here). We apologize for the wait, and we're really thankful that you all have been so understanding about it. 

That being said, here's the new launch date: July 27th. Mark your calendars for your reunion with Dallas, Juliette, Sawyer, and Asha! And of course, keep a keen eye out for more sneak peeks of Bachelorette Party! 

Missing your regency romance? Desire & Decorum: Book 3 will be back in August with more fan-twirling decorum and scandalous ankle flashing! Also premiering this August: Get married on live TV in America's Most Eligible: Book 3! We're talking a whole new level of drama and romance.

In case you missed it... The Royal Heir is out as of last week! Many of you asked for more chapters on different days of the week, so we're giving that a whirl with our first ever Saturday book! Be sure to tune in on Saturdays for your next Cordonian adventure. And don't forget to check out our other June releases: Sunkissed and Red Carpet Diaries! 

If you can't tell, we're pretty darn hyped for what's coming out this summer and beyond. For hints, regular ol' updates, and your questions answered, keep reading: 

Any news on Open Heart: Book 2? 

Open Heart: Book 2 is a work-in-progress right now! While we're on the topic: Ride-or-die: Book 2, and HSS: Class Act Book 3 are also in the works. It's currently still early days for these three books, so we won't have news for you for a while -- but we'll let you know first thing when we do! That's a promise. 

Are there any books with male and female MC options coming up?

Yes! We know there's been quite a few books lately starring a heroine main character, but don't worry, we have books with more main character gender options on the way as well. We really appreciate your feedback now and always, so don't hesitate to reach out -- whether it's about book genres, main character options, or new features you want to see! 

What Choices book do players like the most? 

Hmm, that depends on who you ask! Some might say The Royal Romance is their absolute fave, while others might cite books like Endless Summer or Red Carpet Diaries. We've got a pretty wide variety of books on the Choices shelves, and it's super fun seeing what different readers are into. What's your cup of tea may not be someone else's, and vice versa. If there's a specific book you're loving, it's guaranteed that you're not alone! 

Are we going to have more chapters on different days?

Yeah, that's absolutely a thing now. We might even have a book launching on Sunday in the future... 

Why did the Nightbound cover change?

So about that... To be honest, Nightbound hasn't reached as wide an audience as we'd hoped. We're experimenting with a different look to see if we can reach more readers. That doesn't mean the story itself -- and all the characters you love -- are changing. Every Choices book is a labor of love, so we want to give this one a fighting chance. And not to get repetitive but: Your feedback is always welcome! Seriously, just reach out.

Can you tell us anything about ____ in The Royal Heir?

Nooope. Sorry! We can't give away spoilers for upcoming chapters. But trust me, this book is filled with romance and mystery and plenty of twists. I got the lowdown from the team, and you're in for a ton of fun.

Is The Royal Heir going to be a series?

Well... the cat's out of the bag on that one already! Before the title was unveiled, we referred to it as the "new, follow-up series" -- so yeah, it's safe to say it will be a series. 

Have you guys ever thought about expanding The Crown & The Flame universe? 

The Royal Romance is actually in the same universe! (See previous Inside Choices blogs for some clues to the TRR and TC&TF connection.) And yeah, we've thought about it. Can't say anything else for now! That's classified. 

Who came up with the songs in Platinum?

A few writers from The Freshman and America's Most Eligible teams lent a hand with the lyrics, and our music producer led the music direction! Every Choices book, Platinum included, is a massive collaborative effort between a wide range of writers, artists, producers, devs, QA team members, and more. As for the actual music production for this specific book, we partnered with the music studio The Noise Distillery!

Are you working on any new game features? What about game features for Diamond and Keys?

Short answer: Yes. Long answer: We're working on new and different ways to improve the Choices experience, and we're super thankful to all of you for your patience as we figure things out. Look out for some changes in the future!

What's a genre you haven't gotten a chance to explore yet? What's the next genre you're working on? 

Ooh, this is a fun one. There's a ton of genres out there that we'd love to explore (or are exploring right now)! Historical fantasy, pirate adventure, the list goes on.

Will we get more horror/mystery books in the future? 

We definitely wouldn't rule out more chilling and mysterious Choices books. 

Any hints you can give for brand new books that are in the works? 

Sure! Here we go... *rolls up sleeves* Later on, you'll sail the high seas with your pirate crew, plan a few weddings, take on the challenges of motherhood, and fight for power in a Renaissance-era court. For more on all of that, well, stay tuned! 

Whew! Hope we answered a few of your burning questions today. And thank you to everyone on Twitter who took the time to send their Q's to us. And remember: You can actually ask us your questions *any time*! Just message us on Facebook, or if you need game support help, message our Support Team in-game via the Settings > Help > Message feature or email our team at support@pixelberrystudios.com

Now we want to hear from you: What books are you reading and loving right now? What future Choices books are you ready for? Share with us online! 

Here at Pixelberry, we love D&D... Dungeons & Dragons and Desire & Decorum!

Here at Pixelberry, we love D&D... Dungeons & Dragons and Desire & Decorum!

-Jessica

Bloodbound II

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It’s back! We’re taking another bite at the Big Apple and reuniting with your fave crew in Bloodbound II! Let's sink our teeth in and get the inside scoop from the brains behind the book:

Now spill! What’s new with Bloodbound II?

Andrew: What Bloodbound II offers is MORE! More of the vampires you love. More awesome historical flashbacks and more creepy new lore. More scares, more thrills, and yes… more steamy scenes with Adrian, Jax, Kamilah, and Lily!

Wow, I can’t wait! What’s been the most challenging part of creating this book?

Andrew: The trickiest part was definitely figuring out the details of the world. Book 1 is focused very tight on NYC, and in Book II we really open it up, but that meant figuring out not just what it’s like for vampires all over the world, but the whole bigger history of how this world came to be.

Owen: Assembling the Bloodbound team is kinda tough. We’re all working on different projects, so it’s hard to get us in the same room at the same time. However once you do, the result is dark, beautiful magic… And a lot of nonsense. But also magic.

Chelsa: Trying to remember to include all the little moving pieces and the important things from Book 1 that needed to come back. But we did it!

Phew! Sounds like quite the feat. Now, Book 1 showed us a whole new world of vampires… without spoiling anything for us, will we be meeting any new vampires?

Andrew: Definitely! I can’t wait for you to see some of the new vampires we have in store. You’ll meet old friends… and even older enemies!

Owen: More than that, you’ll see a whole new society of vampires with a completely different set of philosophies. There’s way more to the vampire world than the clans of New York!

Emi: I'll give you a hint that my personal favorite is a very famous vampire who you're lucky enough to cross paths with.

OoOo! What are you most excited for fans to experience in Book II?

Andrew: Where to begin? There are so many big thrilling twists I can’t wait for the fans to see. There’s a cameo appearance in Chapter 3 that was an absolute blast to write.

Chelsa: So many things! I have to just pick one? I think I'm most excited for people to experience the new tapestry flashbacks in Bloodbound II. The story that unfolds there is SO interesting, and I can't wait to see people's reactions.  

Owen: Vampire parties in some… unorthodox locations.

Emi: You may finally learn about the mythical First Vampire...

GASP! Which reminds me... Out of all the vampires in the story, who would you most likely want by your side?

Andrew: Kamilah, for sure. Sorry, others, but she didn’t get to be 2000 without being one hell of a survivor.

Owen: I’d choose Lily cuz she’s chill. I get that the other vampires are like, immortal paragons of animalistic power and otherworldly beauty, but like… get over yourself?

Chelsa: Kamilah. She's such a bo$$.

Emi: Gaius. Sure, he's likely to betray you in the end, but as long as he's on your side, the competition doesn't stand a chance!

Any final tips for people to sink their teeth into?

Andrew: Flesh calls to flesh. Blood calls to blood. Follow the path to find the Tomb… but beware the Order of the Dawn.

Emi: Learn from the past.

Chelsa: Wear a turtleneck.

I'll keep that in mind! Here’s to venturing into the wicked and wild world of vampires! Make sure to let us know what you think on our social media pages. We can’t wait for you to play Bloodbound II!

-Shae

Summer Updates and Answers

Summer's just around the corner for us here at Pixelberry, and you know what that means... Vampires, royalty, and that glam celeb life! At least, that's what it means for Choices.

In case you missed it, Bloodbound: Book 2 will make its vampiric return on May 17th! (Check out the cover reveal here.) We know it's been quite a while, but we promise, it's worth the wait. A Courtesan of Rome will also pick back up on May 22nd with its finale chapters. And we can't forget your journey to pop star fame in Platinum, out later this month.

What's coming up in June? Wellll... Red Carpet Diaries: Book 3 (Cosplay! A near-death experience! And a wedding!) for one. And the Royal Heir will debut in June, too.

That's not all for the summer! Head back to the ranch in Big Sky Country: Book 2... Experience summer love and reconnect with your roots when you return to the beach town where you grew up, all in Sunkissed... And party it up in Vegas with your girl crew in Bachelorette Party!

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Since it's been a while since our last Q&A here on Inside Choices, we thought we'd do another one. Here are a few of your questions answered:

Will there be a Book 2 for Ride-or-die? What about Open Heart?

First of all, thanks so much for reading these two books! If you haven't caught Ride-or-die's finale earlier today, we hope you'll check that out. Book 2 of Ride-or-die is in the works, but it's still in early stages right now, and won't be out for a while. As soon as we can tell you more, we will. As always, follow us on social media to get the latest!

As for Open Heart... We can't say anything yet! When a book is currently updating, we generally can't give out info on potential future books. Just FYI.

Is there going to be a Book 3 for Desire & Decorum? America's Most Eligible?

Yes, and yes! Those books are a work-in-progress. When we've got news for you, we'll let you know ASAP. That's a promise.

Why is character art getting reused in Nightbound and Wishful Thinking?

It comes down to resources. There are so many stories we'd love to tell, but we just can't do all of them without using our resources strategically. Of course, that doesn't mean we don't hear your feedback, and we're always looking for ways to improve our books.

Why are there female-only main player characters in some books?

This is something we've talked about in previous Inside Choices posts! (Definitely check out our past Q&A posts if you haven't already.) As mentioned above, it's sometimes due to resource constraints, and other times, it's because it fits the story and setting. At the same time, we've got more books brewing with more gender options... and character options. (If you've read our latest Choices Insiders email, you'll know what this is about.)

Any info on the next fantasy adventure book?

Speaking of the Choices Insiders email... check it out for a very early sneak peek for that! This upcoming fantasy epic is like nothing you've seen in Choices before, with more character options and a skills system that will redefine how you play Choices.

And in case you haven't done this already, sign up for our Choices Insiders email list here:  https://www.pixelberrystudios.com/choices-insiders Be sure to confirm your subscription via the confirmation email, which might land in your spam mail, so look out for that. Sign up now to get our June edition with even more sneak peeks of what's to come!

What's happening with the ad rewards? Why aren't they working?

Sorry about this! As some of you know, Choices has been experiencing some ad reward issues for the last month or so. Our team has been working non-stop to get it resolved, but it's taking a while, for which we apologize. The ad rewards feature is one that we've been really excited to release to all of you, so we want to get this fixed ASAP. We're hoping to resolve it in a future update, and will keep you all in the loop.

Can you tell us more about The Royal Heir?

We got the lowdown from The Royal Heir team just for you all, so yes. Yes, we can. In The Royal Heir, you'll go on your honeymoon, attend Bertrand and Savannah's wedding, and get a peek into Cordonian history... Seriously, you're not ready. Here's a lil sneak peek:

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Hope this blog post answered a few of your burning questions. Pro-tip: You can always message us on Facebook or contact our Support Team in-app to get more general questions answered, or get help with game issues. Your positive messages (and corgi pictures! OMG!) always make our day, and we love hearing from you. Until next time...

-Jessica

Wishful Thinking

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Breaking news! Wishful Thinking is about to hit the Choices shelves. But before that happens, let's chat with the writing team for a sneak preview of what to expect in this quirky romcom:

What's the scoop on Wishful Thinking?

Saran: Our protagonist is trying to fulfill her dream of being a reporter, but when an accident gives her mind-reading abilities, she discovers what that can mean for her life and career. Most of us have wondered what other people are thinking at some point or another, so we wanted to explore the pros and cons of what would happen if you could actually do that. At its heart, this book is about learning to be confident in your own skin, but there are plenty of laughs (and loooove) along the way!

It looks like Wishful Thinking has a little of everything. What genre would you say it is?

Saran: At its core, I’d say it’s a romcom, but there are also elements of magical realism mixed in! We wanted to create a story that’s a little absurd and satirical in places, but still has tender, moving moments. Hopefully there’ll be a little something for everyone!

Time to address the emu in the room: Why are there emus on the cover? (Of course, no spoilers!)

Saran: I’m a big wildlife enthusiast, so putting a bunch of animals in this book was simply inevitable. Plus, I love Australia (shoutout to our Aussie fans!), and I’m thrilled that we got to include such an iconic critter (although I will confirm, regretfully, that our book does not take place down under). There’s not a lot I can tell you about the emus without spoiling the plot, but let’s just say that as a reporter, you’ll end up covering some pretty wild stories ;)

Shayn: We're definitely going for a quirky romantic comedy with a dash of magic and mystery! Even with all the drama you run into, we keep it entertaining, so this could definitely be a happy place read.

What was your favorite part of brainstorming and writing Wishful Thinking?

Saran: I had a lot of fun coming up with wacky news stories for players to investigate. I think it gave us the chance to explore some uniquely strange scenarios! Also, it should go without saying that getting to write the emu parts have been the highlight of my writing career, and possibly my entire life.

Kathleen: I always love the writing challenge of taking the default world and changing one little thing about it, then seeing what effects ripple out from there. Giving one person the ability to read minds can have some pretty wide-reaching consequences, as you’ll soon find out!

If you could read minds, what would you do with your newfound powers?

Saran: I would definitely use it exclusively to figure out why my roommate’s cats are meowing at 2am. Are they hungry? Do they want belly rubs? Do they, and they alone, see spirits of the departed floating forlornly around our apartment? I’m afraid I’ll never know.

Shayn: I'd learn martial arts, get myself a unitard, come up with a catchy superhero name, and get to saving the world!

John: If I had mind-reading powers, I would use them to read the minds of plants and find out once and for all if playing music helps them grow faster. I sure hope my succulent likes ABBA.

Kathleen: I want to say “fight crime” but honestly I would probably just go around making sure that every single dog knows how good they are.

Glad you're using your powers for good! Readers, tune in Monday for Wishful Thinking. And of course, watch out for sneak peeks of Nightbound, Bloodbound, and more! Can't wait to share what's new in Choices with all of you. Have an excellent weekend!

-Shae

Summer Reads and More

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This past week, you hopped on a flight to Paris in Passport to Romance... and that's just the start! There's more on the way in Choices, and this is your chance to check out what's new:

Up next... Wishful Thinking and Nightbound! Sneak peeks will go live sooner than you think, so keep an eye out. In case you missed it, here's the lowdown on these two books: In Wishful Thinking, your heroine is an aspiring reporter with a knack for reading minds. What does this mean for your life and your career? Find out in this all-new Choices book!

In Nightbound, you'll step into the world of the supernatural and encounter monsters, the fae, werewolves, you name it! But beware, nothing is as it seems... As promised, you can play as a male or female main character in Nightbound.  

If you've been following along online, then you know that late spring means two things: More of A Courtesan of Rome and Book 2 of Bloodbound! A Courtesan of Rome will pick back up after its hiatus with a few finale chapters wrapping up your role in making history...

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Bloodbound: Book 2 returns with new mysteries, old enemies, and a thrilling adventure that'll unearth the dark, alluring history of vampires. (And just to be clear since there's been some confusion, Bloodbound: Book 2 is a separate book from the spin-off book Nightbound!)

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We've got quite a few summer books in the works as well! Travel to your family's old beach town and find summer love in Sunkissed... and sing your heart out on your path to fame in Platinum! And of course, head back to Hollywood and Montana in Red Carpet Diaries: Book 3 and Big Sky Country: Book 2, all launching this summer! Your next epic fantasy adventure might just be around the corner, too...

Finally, head back to Cordonia this summer in the follow-up series to The Royal Romance! This new series will answer a few unanswered mysteries from the first series, and tackle the big question of any romance: What comes after happily ever after?

So there's your sneak peek of what's coming up this spring and summer! What books are you looking forward to? What current books have you been loving? If you like these early Choices previews, let us know!

-Jessica

Passport to Romance

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Ever dreamt of traveling across Europe? Fall in love with what the world has to offer... and maybe meet a special someone along the way! Have it all in Passport to Romance, out now in Choices! Before the book took off, we checked in with the team for a quick chat:

Give us the grand tour! What's Passport to Romance all about?

Max: Passport to Romance is a chance for our players to experience a fun-filled European adventure full of romance and sight-seeing... without the 11-hour plane ride.

What's different about Passport to Romance? What are you excited for our Choices readers to encounter?

Eshani: I’m excited for our follower system! Our main character is doing a livestream/blog in this story, and you get to make choices that affect what goes on the blog—which eventually affects the number of followers the blog has! The more followers, the more bonus scenes you get throughout the book!

Max: When we brainstormed this book, a lot of the ideas came from the question: If you were vacationing in Europe, what would you WANT to happen? Believe me when I say that this will be the journey of a lifetime!

Love (and lasting friendship!) is in the air. Can you share a little bit about who we'll be exploring Europe with?

Eshani: We've got a fun cast of characters that accompany you on your trip! There's Ahmed, who's playful and athletic and just trying to figure out how to be true to himself in the face of his fame. And there's Marisa and Sumire, your roomies. Marisa is a bit of a party girl who always has your back, while Sumire is a total sweetheart working on gaining confidence in her artistic talents. Finally, there's Elliot, the witty Brit you run into on your first flight...

Danica: You’ll be exploring with friends and that’s what makes travelling fun! It’ll be a blast to explore Europe with friends like Sumire, Ahmed, Marisa, and Elliot!

Have you travelled the world before? Where? And what did you love about it? Got any travel tips for our readers?

Eshani: I really love to travel, because there’s so much of the world to see and experience, and it helps you broaden your experience. One of my tips is to figure out what kind of traveler you are! Are you into walking cities or hiking jungles? If you’re a planner, be sure to get your itinerary in tip-top shape beforehand. If you’re not, allow yourself to go with the flow. Do travel your way, not the way others say you should.

Danica: I traveled once to Cambodia, and it’s definitely different from the States. I loved sightseeing and hiking to different temples. Just enjoy your time in another country and don't rush things. Be stress-free as much as you can!

Pack your bags and check in for your flight to the City of Lights! If you haven't played Passport to Romance already, we hope you'll give it a read! Next up in Choices... Wishful Thinking, Nightbound, Bloodbound, and more! Happy travels!

-Shae

The Elementalists: Book 2

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Destiny. Danger. Destruction. Master magick against the odds in your second year at Penderghast College of Elemental Magicks! More secrets and adventures await in Book 2 of The Elementalists, out tomorrow. Now let's chat with our resident fantasy writers for a preview of what's to come:

(Readers beware, spoilers ahead!) Give us the lowdown on Book 2! What's next for the Penderghast crew?

Maya: Book 1 left us with the mystery of the girl in the locket, and that's only the tip of the iceberg for this year's adventures. Of course, you and your friends will be learning new spells and getting invites to the most exclusive parties... but watch out! There's a big storm headed your way.

Book 1 kicked off with a quiz to determine your elemental Attunement. What magickal new features have you been brewing up for Book 2?

Maya: Let's just say, some of the major choices you made in Book 1 will affect how your story progresses in Book 2, while the choices you make in this book will have even heavier consequences going forward.

Chelsa: There's definitely some new features in Book 2! One of my favorites is that we added spell icons to some of the choices so you know what kind of magic goes with each choice. All that we have in store for you guys wouldn't be possible without our awesome design and QA teams... so shout-out to them for putting up with all our crazy schemes and making the magick happen!

Will we be meeting anyone new at Penderghast? Will they be friends or foes?

Maya: Oh, we'll be meeting plenty of delightful new faces. Many would like to think of themselves as friends, but between you and me, I've got my eye on some of them. Or maybe I'm just eyeing that impeccable fashion sense...

Emi: There are so many new people you're going to meet, including some of your friends' families! Whether or not they end up as your friends or foes, well, that depends on you!

What's been the most fun part of working on Book 2? What are you looking forward to players reading?

Maya: I've loved getting to write a whole bunch of new, non-human characters! We've really expanded the scope of the magickal world in Book 2, and I can't wait for players to encounter these characters that our art team has brought to life so vividly.

Chelsa: The most fun part has been our team dynamic and our openness to new ideas. My favorite story moments from Book 1 (and Book 2) were things that we didn't initially plan for, but later came up with as we delved deeper into outlining and mapping out the world's lore. If you think Book 1 was intense, you haven't seen anything yet!

Emi: Bringing Aster and Atlas to Penderghast as students is something we've had planned from the very beginning, back when we were planning Book 1, and it's so satisfying to see it pan out in Book 2. I love writing Atlas and Aster's different reactions to experiencing school for the first time. We also finally get to meet a mermaid, which I've personally been dying for since we started The Elementalists.

John: It's been a lot of fun exploring your crew's personalities in more detail. There will be drama, laughter, tears, the works! Book 2 will really test the limits of your friendships, but I'm confident you and your friends will come out of it stronger than ever.

Jessica: I can't count the number of times we've seen new character art from our epic art team, or brainstormed a new character, and all of us collectively went "OMG YES" or "I WOULD DIE FOR HER." The new world lore, characters, and story we have planned for you is some next level stuff. Get ready!  

Learning magick is no joke! Who's your ideal Penderghast study buddy?

Maya: Griffin! He's the perfect study buddy, if you ask me. We're both focused, so we'd get all our studying out of the way early, and then we'd chill out while listening to his new Muses and trying to kick each other's butts at virtual Thief.

Emi: Aster! She loves learning so much that I think studying with her would be really fun! Not to mention all the amazing stories she could share with you when you took a break.

John: My ideal Penderghast study buddies are Tim and Atlas, of course. Atlas is one of the most magickally talented members of your group (don't tell Beckett I said that), and I'm sure they wouldn't hesitate to tell me what I was doing wrong. And if I ever got confused or frustrated, I could go to Tim for advice! He's got such wisdom, that gorgue.

Chelsa: Beckett! My smart lil bean. Not sure we'd get much studying done wink wink lol

Jessica: Shreya and Zeph! Shreya's one of the smartest, most talented people at Penderghast, and you know she'd have the best, color-coded study guides. Zeph would bring the jokes and the snacks, and we'd turn the whole thing into a study party!

The stakes are higher than ever in Book 2 of The Elementalists. Got any final words of advice?

Maya: Some choices are hard. Some seem to have no right answer. Trust your gut, and trust your magick. They'll show you the way.

Roger that! Stay attuned to your Choices game for The Elementalists: Book 2! And to those who have read this far: Thank you so much! There's more on the horizon: Travel to Europe in Passport to Romance, and stay on the lookout for sneak peeks of Wishful Thinking and Nightbound! Until next time...

-Shae

A Courtesan of Rome Hiatus

A Courtesan of Rome is going on hiatus as the team gears up for an epic conclusion to your adventures in Ancient Rome! The book will resume in late spring. When we return:

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Use your wiles to gain the trust of Caesar and Cleopatra...

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Learn what has become of your long-lost brother... And work with your parents and Cassius to mastermind the plan to assassinate Julius Caesar!

Will you stay in Rome, or return to Gaul to rebuild your tribe? And who will be at your side when the Republic falls? Find out next time on A Courtesan of Rome!

We'll be posting more sneak peeks and news later on, so keep an eye out. And thank you for bearing with us as we take time to work on the next few chapters. We don't make these book hiatus decisions lightly, and really appreciate your patience and understanding.

Got Choices questions? Check out our previous Inside Choices update posts on frequently asked questions and the latest spring news! If you've got more questions or need game support, message us on Facebook or in-game. Thanks for reading!

Spring News

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Springtime is just around the corner here at Pixelberry, and you know what that means... More Choices chapters and new books coming next season! Here's a sneak preview of what's next:

First off, Open Heart is out! If you haven't kicked off your medical residency at Edenbrook Hospital, what are you waiting for? Give it a try! The Elementalists: Book 1 wrapped up today as well, and Book 2 is on its way, with more magickal adventures and mysteries!

All-new books are headed your way, too. Got a case of wanderlust? Our next Choices book will take you on a globetrotting journey! Stay tuned for more news very, very soon. And that's not all we've got planned for the spring season. Work your way up as a reporter with a knack for reading minds in Wishful Thinking... And encounter the supernatural in the Bloodbound spinoff, Nightbound!

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And what about returning books and sequels? Don't worry, we've got you covered. Across the Void makes its out-of-this-world return in March. Bloodbound: Book 2 launches in late spring with more romance, vampiric mysteries, and sinister new threats... Here’s an early sneak peek:

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And to our The Royal Romance fans: Thanks for all your patience, kind words, and song recs! The series concluded last fall (read our finale post here), and the team is hard at work on a new, follow-up series picking up right after the events of the first series. We hope you're looking forward to reuniting with The Royal Romance cast later this year! (And yes, you will see your corgi again.)

“The best thing about writing for Riley, Hana, Drake, Maxwell, and Liam again is that it feels like coming home and seeing old friends” -Kara (@karawrites on Instagram!)

“The best thing about writing for Riley, Hana, Drake, Maxwell, and Liam again is that it feels like coming home and seeing old friends” -Kara (@karawrites on Instagram!)

For more answers to any burning questions you might have, definitely check out our last newsy post here. And of course, don't hesitate to reach out via Facebook or in-game message. If you want the latest Choices news, be sure to follow along on our social media pages and of course, this Inside Choices blog! Hope to hear from you soon!

-Jessica

High School Story: Class Act, Book 2

School is back in session, and the stage is set! Reconnect with your friends in High School Story: Class Act, Book 2, launching next week! What role will you play this time around? Let's get the inside scoop from the writers:

Book 1 was all about finding your place at Berry High and in theater. Tell us a little bit about what's next for readers in Book 2!

Brianna: In Book 2, election season is hitting Berry High! When some unexpected classmates throw their hats into the ring, you and your friends are forced to decide who to support. The last book was all about forging new relationships with your classmates. This book is really about taking those bonds to the next level, and putting them to the test when tensions run high. You choose your destiny, so you’ll really have to follow your heart and discover what you believe in!

Sounds like a lot is happening at Berry High! What about Book 2 are you most psyched for readers to encounter?

Brianna: I think the ups and downs of the race will be a ton of fun for readers to play through, especially since they’ll have a say in them! Things don’t always go according to plan, and it’ll be a wild ride from start to finish.

Jaylee: We have so many fun dates planned! Arcades, robot battles, hanging out inside an igloo...

Emily: I’m excited for players to navigate a very relatable issue — family vs. friends — and seeing how that affects their main character.

Will we be making any new friends? Or (gasp) enemies? And will we be seeing any familiar faces from the first High School Story series?

Brianna: You’ll be meeting a few new faces! Some will be friends, and others will be foes. And some beloved characters from the original High School Story trilogy will also be playing a role in this year’s presidential race, so stay tuned!

Rachel Z.: The focus this time is on deepening the friendships and relationships you established in book one. But you might run into conflict with a couple people you didn't expect!

What was your favorite part of working on this book? What's been the most challenging?

Brianna: I have a soft spot for writing the sibling dynamic between you and your twin -- their bond is so adorable and funny! As for the most challenging part, this book’s tense standoffs and drama have been hard on me since I love these characters. I just want them to be happy!

Rachel Z.: I also love writing the twins! While your twin spent the last book making some arguably poor choices, you get to see them step up to the self-growth plate in this volume. It's been interesting exploring this.

Jaylee: Your relationship is so new, and it's the first time your character and the love interests have ever experienced big romantic feelings like this, so every time you come together, it's so magical. They're all still in that "Omg, this person likes me back?? They let me kiss them??? What??" stage, and it's so fun to write.

Emily: My favorite part has been finding ways to incorporate some fan favorite characters in with our new gang. The most challenging part was figuring out what the heck a Student Body President actually does!

If you were running for class president, what would your campaign slogan be?

Brianna: Bri for better bathrooms! For some reason my high school’s restrooms were unbelievably disgusting.

Emily: The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword: Vote for Emily, the Writing Irish!

Jaylee: "Everyone who votes for me will get cookies!" But there are no cookies. It's a lie. My inauguration would be a brutal wake-up call to the harsh realities of politics.

Rachel Z.: I was always the weird and highly extra kid (which hasn't changed in adulthood), so my slogan would have been something like, "Vote for Rachel for vampire-themed dances!"

That's something I'd vote for... If you're reading this, high five! You're awesome and one of a kind. Be sure to follow along on our social media pages for more sneak peeks of Open Heart, our upcoming Choices book!

What else is next in Choices? Well, you'll encounter the supernatural, travel the world, and much, much more! Whether it's Bloodbound: Book 2, the interstellar return of Across the Void, or something entirely new, we're so excited to share what's in store for the future. Keep a lookout for sneak peeks and announcements!

-Shae

America's Most Eligible: Book 2

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Calling all stars to the set! The premiere of America’s Most Eligible: Book 2 is almost here! Do you have what it takes to win hearts in the new season? Before you step in front of the camera, here's a sneak peek of what's in store:

It's time for the All-Stars edition of America's Most Eligible! What’s new in Book 2?

Cat: This season of America's Most Eligible, everything has changed! Not only are we introducing a ton of great new characters, but we're also raising the stakes higher than ever before. Don't worry, though. With big risks come even bigger rewards!

How did you decide the direction that Book 2 would take? Is there anything in this round that you're extra excited for players to encounter?

Cat: We knew we wanted to mix things up as much as possible, while holding onto the things readers loved about Book 1. Keep an eye out for a brand-new Confessional persona! We've got a lot of really fun Challenges in store, and some new art that is going to take your breath away.

Kelsie: I'm excited for everyone to meet our cast of characters... including the devious antagonists you'll be competing against! You'll also have the opportunity to play into your Confessional persona more often, both on and off-camera.

Bre’Anna: The other All-Stars are a great group of competitors, and you might even find a new fave! Book 2 also dives into who the characters are when they're affected by factors outside of the show. You'll see uber-tough Mack get in touch with her sensitive side, buttoned-up Adam lose his cool, and you'll even get some backstory on a certain producer extraordinaire.

Who out of the new cast of characters is your favorite?

Olivia: Since this is the All-Star season, you'll be meeting people from very different seasons and different walks of life. Without spoiling anything, one of the most veteran contestants is a... truly unique experience, and I love him for it.

Cat: Kiana, hands down. She's cute, fun, and super down-to-earth! I wish I could be friends with her IRL.

Kelsie: I adore everyone in our new cast, but the standout for me has to be my guy, Ronan. The Most Interesting Man in the World has nothing on him.

Bre’Anna: Eden is my girl. She's the cool, older sister type who'll make your parents proud, but still let you borrow stuff from her closet.

If you were on reality TV, would you play to win? Or would you go for winning over people's hearts?

Cat: I'd like to think I'd play to win, but I'm the kind of person who can't choose mean options in a video game without feeling guilty about it later. Though, I guess if I'm competing for half a million dollars... anything's possible!

Kelsie: As all reality TV legends know, this isn't a best friend competition! Therefore... I’d 100% go for the win and that prize money, and nobody would be able to stop me.

Elizabeth: I'd go for winning over people's hearts, at least at first, just to get everyone's guard down. Then, once everyone voted off the obvious villains and took out my competition, I'd let my true drama queen self emerge.

Bre’Anna: If I were on reality TV, I'd be there for a good time, not a long time. Expect some drama, some shade, and a ton of post-season IG sponsorships.

Any words of advice for readers about to enter the cutthroat world of reality TV?

Cat: If you're playing it safe, you're not playing to win.

Olivia: Keep your friends close, and your enemies... actually, no, don't keep those close. Just send 'em to the Jury House.

Bre’Anna: Remember Mackenzie's mantra: "I'm not here to make friends."

Kelsie: Don’t be afraid to get a little outrageous. This is TV, after all!

You heard it here first! Check out America's Most Eligible: Book 2, available now! Don't forget to look out for more sneak peeks of Ride-or-die: A Bad Boy Romance. And later this year, get ready to make life-or-death decisions, encounter the supernatural, travel the world, and much, much more!

-Shae

The Senior Finale

Meet Remi, a newly graduated puppy! Photo courtesy of Sara of The Senior team!

Meet Remi, a newly graduated puppy! Photo courtesy of Sara of The Senior team!

It's graduation day at Hartfeld! Now that the finale chapter of The Senior -- and the whole Freshman series -- has wrapped up, it's time to toss your graduation cap in the air and say your goodbyes. Here to send off the series is The Senior writing team:

It's truly the end of an era. What's your mood right now? How did you feel writing the very last chapter of The Senior, and by extension, the entire Freshman series?

Sara: It's a solid mix of being very tired and very relieved. We brought the series home, and I can only hope we did it justice. I feel like I'm closing this particular chapter of my Choices writing at the perfect moment; it's a good time to let something go when you are almost but not quite ready to say goodbye!

What was the most challenging part of wrapping up the stories of so many beloved characters within this book? What about the most rewarding part?

Sara: I want to shout out our QA testers for this one! They were truly heroes for how much time and effort they put into testing our chapters, especially as the chapters got more and more complex near the end with all our lovely love interests and possible futures! The vacation chapter was truly a champion-tier quest for our intrepid QA team. They often messaged me while testing to say how invested they were, and that meant so much to me. Whether it was people in the Pixelberry team or Choices fans at large, hearing that people cared so deeply about the story made it all worthwhile.

While I'm talking up people, our art team is absolutely incredible! I love everything they've created, including but not limited to the rainbow hairstyle and blue velvet suit. I may have dressed up in that very look on one or two occasions. :P

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What's been your favorite moment out of all of The Senior? (The rest of The Freshman series is fair game, too!)

Sara: Nothing will ever top Hartfeld Horror Story for me. In the words of Caitlin, "Chad, for the love of god, I'm tired of looking at your man body." If this is really confusing to you, go play the Sophomore Halloween special!

Shayn: My favorite moment was our long, dark night of the soul, in which Emily (the main character) has lost one of her most important relationships and is alone in London. It's a bleak moment, but it gave us an opportunity to speak to the struggle of adulthood.

Elizabeth: I loved writing the scene The Senior in which Abbie and Tyler show off their first video game, Dragon Jest, and tell off a bully who thinks it's "not a real game." I've always loved games with brightness and romance in them. Mobile games, romance games, games about fun and relationships -- they're real games, too! And I loved that I got to express all the pride and excitement I've felt in making these games through Tyler, Abbie, and Emily in this scene.

Where do you imagine The Senior main cast will go from here?

Sara: To follow up on the question from earlier, it's both challenging and rewarding to leave some parts of these characters' stories untold. Emily's future is headed in a definite direction at the end of the series, but her final destination remains a mystery. I'd love to create a spin-off about Madison researching volcanoes, or Aaron and his hamster's grand adventures (what if they were detectives?!) or Kaitlyn's musical hijinks... But I know that this story is meant to end, and the rewarding part comes in remembering that each of these characters has an inner life and a wide-open world that every player's imagination can fill in.

Shayn: I see the cast all gathering regularly for get-togethers! After everything they've been through, there's no way they'll become the kind of friends who talk only on occasion. I definitely see Becca flying in for Kaitlyn's birthday bash, and Zig clearing his work schedule to go to Zack's wedding...

Elizabeth: I would say.... wherever the player wants! We all worked hard to give players different options at the end as to where their MC and their love interests end up. However, in some alternate future, I do picture Edgar Lucas as president, using his pizza-box zither to stave off the robot apocalypse and bring about world peace. Obviously!

What advice would you give to students about to graduate high school or college?

Sara: In college, I angsted a lot about not knowing what I wanted or where precisely life would take me. Along the way, I discovered a performance arts group, amazing friendships, a study abroad trip to Northern Ireland... and spent a couple of post-grad years jumping from city to city and barista gig to barista gig before finding a professional home here at Pixelberry. Not knowing what's next can lead to a lot of unexpected wonderfulness! Don't worry about knowing everything that will come right away.

What's next for The Senior team?

Shayn: We're all moving off onto new projects now, but I'm excited for what's next! Thanks to The Senior fans for all your true love for the characters.

Elizabeth: I'm heading off to amp up the drama on America's Most Eligible, Book 2!

Sara: Speaking for myself... Whatever it is that’s next for me, I imagine it's very different from this...

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Time to open this up to The Freshman writers of the past! Do you have any favorite memories from writing The Freshman during the early days? Any favorite story moments?

Max: In Book 1, I was really proud of the scene where you're completely overloaded with your first assignment from Professor Vasquez, and your friends pull an all-nighter to help you out. To me, that's the moment that first crystalized the key strength of this book: the wonderful, supportive friend group that sticks together, helping each other out through college life's various challenges! That's a theme that subsequent writers have carried through the whole series in a beautiful, heartwarming way.

Jennifer: Even though I know it's a crazy plot point, I always enjoyed the moment we decided to have you be James' fake fiance; it's one of my favorite romantic tropes. As for favorite memories... I remember when we were first brainstorming the right name for the college. I wanted something that sounded like 'heartfelt,' and ended up at Hartfeld!

Wendy: Basically anything involving Madison was my favorite to write. She's just so wholesome. I also have a huge soft spot in my heart for Snowed In, the holiday special. I was still fairly new to the team at that point, and figuring out how all your suitemates would react to being caught in a blizzard was a great way to get to know the characters. Plus, the end result was pretty darn fun to play, if I do say so myself.

Saran: Honestly, we’ve all shared so many laughs and good memories over the course of the series that it’s hard to pick a single highlight. I wish we had a blooper reel for all of the goofy typos and outtakes that never made it into the game, because there are some true gems! To this day, I still keep a screenshot of a development bug where Zig’s hair showed up wrong, and it came out as an accidental mullet. But you know what? He still looked great.

Chelsa: I worked on The Freshman series for so long that it's hard to pinpoint an exact favorite moment. The main team I worked with was Saran, Maya, and Sara, and we had (still have) some really good times! Honestly, getting through brainstorms were a struggle, because we were cracking too many jokes to stay on track. My favorite book that we worked on together was the Hartfeld Horror Story. The original version was so gory and crazy, we weren't sure the fans could handle it! My favorite scene I ever worked on was in The Freshman: Book 3 when Kaitlyn and Emily join the D&D club for a session. Writing all the classes and outcomes was a blast. Also, Zig4Life.

Maya: Working with Chelsa, Saran, and Sara was a blast. The entire brainstorm process for The Sophomore and The Sophomore’s Halloween special was wild from start to finish -- and writing the Halloween special is hands-down my favorite memory. It was so much fun getting to satirize the characters we loved so much. I got more than a few stomachaches from laughing so hard.

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Any parting words for The Freshman fans?

Chelsa: I guess all I want to say about this series is that it's the very first thing I worked on when I moved to Choices after Hollywood U. It's really special to me, and so are all of the people I've had a chance to work with on it. I don't think I'll ever forget the good times and hijinks we got up to. I also can never eat rosemary chicken again, thanks Saran.

Jennifer: Thank you so much for playing the series! I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!

Wendy: It's been a whole journey. Thanks for sticking with us. And if you're looking for more school-related adventures from Pixelberry, check out High School Story (wink wink).

Maya: The Freshman characters became like friends to me as I was writing them, and I hope they became the same to you. I hope you’ll always look back on your time at Hartfeld with a smile!

Sara: I gave the abbreviated version of my parting words for our lovely readers at the end of the book... But I will add that I'm so grateful that you all love these characters and their stories as much as we at Pixelberry do! Thanks for sticking with us until the happy end. <3 Also, I love Kaitlyn Liao. xoxo

That about says it all. After over two years, this really feels like the end of an era in Choices, and we're so thankful for all of you who read The Freshman series from the very beginning. Choices wouldn't be what it is today without you.

-Jessica



Desire & Decorum: Book 2

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Desire & Decorum: Book 2 is out now in Choices! If you haven't read it yet, definitely do that when you get the chance. But if you're all caught up, you're in the right place! Read on for our behind-the-scenes look at Book 2:

Now that Book 2 has made its debut, let's hear more about it! What's in store for readers?

Rachel: I mean, what’s not in store for Book 2? I can sum up this book in 5 emojis, and believe me, it’s epic. I remember talking to one of our co-workers about D&D 2’s plot just with those five, and getting an “OMG really?!" reaction. There’s something for everyone in Book 2: courting, action, secrets, royalty, and even some steamy ankle flashing. Make sure you're near a fainting couch!

Will there be more of desire or decorum in this particular book?

Meagan: I would say there's a bit more desire in this one ;)

Ali: We've ramped up the desire side of this book for sure, but ultimately it's up to you! There are still loads of opportunities to exercise your decorum.

What are you most looking forward to our readers encountering?

Rachel: There’s one moment that really stands out in my mind. We’ve had the idea for it since Book 1, but with the way Book 2’s twists and turns go, we were finally able to make it a reality. And shoutout to our amazing art team! Readers are in for some seriously brilliant, fantastic, drop-dead gorgeous art this time around.

Ali: I'm looking forward to readers learning more about the main cast. We've got some fun group scenes in this book that I'm really excited for people to play! Did I mention Book 2 has a mystery element to it? I'm honestly looking forward to our readers encountering, well, everything!

Book 1 of Desire & Decorum involved a herculean amount of research. Was Book 2 smoother sailing?

Rachel: Oh, most definitely. Book 1 was establishing this entire setting! That’s not to say that Book 2 hasn’t involved a lot of research (because it has), but the focus has been in different areas. For example, I didn’t need to study up as much on Regency dinner habits this time around, but I did have to research quite a bit on the Queen of England.

Some of the most interesting things I’ve researched for this book were family crests and coats of arms. Every piece of a family crest means something very specific. If you look at our cover, you can see a small piece of the Edgewater Coat of Arms, but every detail, from the color to the chevron to the animals on either side, were put there for a specific reason. I’ll let you all figure out what everything means...

Meagan: We've certainly learned a lot in the process of writing Book 2! As one example, an early version of croquet called pall-mall used to be so popular that there were streets in many cities devoted to it. When it declined in popularity, many of the streets were repurposed into shopping centers and parks. This is where the word "mall" comes from, both for shopping malls and in instances like The National Mall in Washington D.C. -- the more you know!

Who's your all-time favorite Jane Austen heroine?

Meagan: Call me a cliche, but I have to go with Lizzy Bennet.

Ali: Emma is my all-time favorite Jane Austen heroine! I love how much of a spunky meddler she is.

Rachel: I actually really like Jane Bennet from Pride & Prejudice! I can definitely relate to her, and she has a level-headedness that I admire. Plus, Mr. Bingley is sweet and so smitten with Jane almost immediately -- I think they're an adorable pair!

For those reading along, thanks for stopping by! Stay tuned for the big finale of The Senior later this week, and more Choices books to come in 2019. And if you've got questions, comments, or feedback, definitely reach out to us on Facebook, Twitter, or within the Choices app! We're looking forward to hearing from you!

-Shae