Author | Monica Valentinelli

Monica Valentinelli

Monica Valentinelli is a writer and game designer who lurks in the dark. She creates original worlds and writers for media tie-in settings which include Dungeons & Dragons, Shadowrun, Firefly, and Vampire: The Masquerade.

Published stories and games include “Tomorrow’s Precious Lambs” for EXTREME ZOMBIES, IN VOLO'S WAKE for Dungeons & Dragons, and DREAD NAMES, RED LIST for Vampire: the Requiem by White Wolf Publishing.

Her non-fiction repertoire includes online articles, essays, and reference materials like the THE GORRAMN SHINIEST LANGUAGE GUIDE AND DICTIONARY IN THE 'VERSE for the Firefly TV show. She has written for sites like HowtoWrite Shop.com, Crackle.com, SFWA.org, GeeksDreamGirl.com, and BookLifeNow.com in addition to contributions for books such as FAMILY GAMES: THE 100 BEST and THE BONES: US AND OUR DICE.

For more about Monica, visit booksofm.com.


Monica Valentinelli

Frankenweenie Movie Review

Posted on October 24, 2012 by

What’s black and white and has Tim Burton written all over it? While I’m sure no other movie reviewer has dropped that line, what I am positive about is that Frankenweenie is a new Halloween favorite created by spooky director/writer/producer/artist Tim Burton.

Frankenweenie is based on a short film Tim Burton produced in 1984. The film, which is readily available online and as an extra on some versions of The Nightmare Before Christmas, is part of the Disney catalog. You can watch the original Frankenweenie on Slate.com. A family film, Frankenweenie has a full cast of characters who live (and lurk) in the town of New Holland.

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Monica Valentinelli

Citadels Of The Lost Review

Posted on October 12, 2012 by

Citadels of the Lost is Book Two in The Annals of Drakis series by Tracy Hickman. A veteran author, Hickman explores a new fantasy world where the opposites of magic provide power (and a lack thereof) to varying races; humans, elves, dragons, dwarves, goblins, chimerians, manticores, etc. The elves rule the dreaded Rhonas Empire with an iron fist — and slavery by use of their magical source dubbed the “Aether.”

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Monica Valentinelli

The 13. Final Days to Apply!

Posted on October 9, 2012 by

Do you have what it takes to be one of my thirteen? October thirteenth is coming up fast. That date marks the day I’ll contact applicants who applied to become one of my thirteen. I blogged about that on my own website, but wanted to extend the invitation to FlamesRising.com readers, too. Many of you have been following my career from the very beginning — after all, it was here where I first posted game fiction for Obsidian: the Age of Judgement. It was also here where we published The Devil’s Night for White Wolf fans and here where I was able to announce projects like Strange, Dead Love, Scenes of the Embrace, Worlds of the Dead, and so many more.

This group I’m putting together is unusual in the sense that I’m providing readers with the ability to get to know me in a more intimate fashion than folks normally would be able to online. I’m also going to talk about the deep, down, and dirty parts of the submission process for my original work and throw a few stories to them.

Questions? I’m sure you do. Read on!

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Monica Valentinelli

Dredd Movie Review

Posted on October 5, 2012 by

To properly review Dredd, I should share with you a couple of important niggly bits. First, we saw Dredd in the old-fashioned version, the two-dimensional format. Second, I haven’t read all the comic books so I’m not as well learned as others might be. Yes, yes I know. This is awful of me, to be sure, but he’s on my pile of “have to read soon.”

Going into the theater, I had heard the reviews. Flat characters. Boring storyline. Not much better than the original. Then, I skimmed comments and anecdotes from people I consider to be professionals. “Don’t listen to the critics,” they said. “Go see it. It’s what a comic book movie should be.”

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Monica Valentinelli

Hack/Slash Issue #18 Review

Posted on October 3, 2012 by

The Case of the Killer and the Questing KingHack/Slash Issue #18 dives into a character we haven’t seen very often — Cat Curio. The stand-alone story, dubbed “The Case of the Killer and the Questing King,” was written by James Lowder. This issue marks his writing debut for the series he typically edits.

Who is Cat Curio? Cat was first introduced as a little girl in Hack/Slash: The Series #23. After surviving her slasher encounter with Samhain, she was in a coma for many years, and is now an adult. That time lost means that she errs on the side of naivete and has some amount of emotional immaturity. This story and the alternate cover, which where done by Matt Merhoff, highlight her Nancy Drew-like tendencies when she falls into an oh-so-easy manipulative trap set by her “hero,” a super spy (and merchant) named Brendon Mannix Joyce.

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Monica Valentinelli

Stoking the Fire at Geek*Kon

Posted on September 6, 2012 by

Both Matt and myself will be at Geek*Kon in Madison, WI this weekend as guests of the show. Geek.Kon is Madison Wisconsin’s very own anime convention, sci-fi convention, and gaming convention all rolled into one!

We have a booth in the Dealer’s Room and will have lots of books for sale including Haunted: 11 Tales of Ghostly Horror, Redwing’s Gambit, and Tales of the Seven Dogs Society.

We will also have a selection of John Kovalic’s Dork Tower Collected Editions.

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Monica Valentinelli

A Discovery of Witches Review

Posted on September 6, 2012 by

A Discovery of Witches is the first book in the All Souls Trilogy and was written by Deborah Harkness. The premise is centered upon Diana Bishop, a historian with a secret past, who stumbles upon an ancient text that is *also* a palimpset. After her accidental discovery of Ashmole 782, Diana’s life begins to change — and not necessarily for the better.

What drew me to this story was the promise of mysteries and ancient texts. I immediately identified with Diana and her more rational side and, as the book’s secrets took a strange turn, felt even more drawn into the story.

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Monica Valentinelli

Cthulhu At Your Luau

Posted on August 15, 2012 by

Back in June, I pledged to The Horror in Clay Kickstarter. The concept? Simple enough. Cthulhu’s sanity-blasting image immortalized in a glazed tiki mug. The Kickstarter got a lot of acclaim and was picked up by sites like Boing Boing, iO9.com, and the like. Their original goal was $12,500 and they successfully raised over $75,000. I was thrilled to be one of the people who pledged to this and look forward to sipping refreshing beverages out of Cthulhu’s unhallowed form.

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Monica Valentinelli

The Iron Wyrm Affair Review

Posted on August 14, 2012 by

I picked up The Iron Wyrm Affair when I first learned about it to support the author. I had the chance to connect with the extraordinarily prolific Lilith Saintcrow on Twitter and, while I’ve never met her in person, I’ve always been inspired by the passion she has for her craft. I had no idea what to expect when I dove into this, but I had read some of her other books. I have a lot to say about this particular tome and its characters so I hope you enjoy the review.

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Monica Valentinelli

Design Notes for Falling Scales Part II

Posted on August 13, 2012 by

Our game design essay series continues today with some notes from Monica Valentinelli, author of Falling Scales Chapter Two, a World of Darkness SAS from White Wolf.

Falling Scales Chapter Two is the final, and second installment, for Falling Scales Part I. I started working on this project last Fall under the assumption that this would be a more atmospheric piece to further introduce a global conspiracy. While there were elements I was able to draw upon, the plot was directed, and there were some liberties I was not allowed to take.

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Monica Valentinelli

Monica’s GenCon Schedule

Posted on August 12, 2012 by

This year, for GenCon, I will be working in my capacity as Marketing Director for Steve Jackson Games. We have a giant eye-in-a-pyramid at the top of our booth so you can’t miss us in the Exhibit Hall. If you don’t spot that, we’re listed as Booth #1301 in the program book.

This is my first fan-facing convention for the company and I’m pretty excited about it. I coordinated a Munchkin Apocalypse preview contest on Twitter and the winners will be sitting down with the Munchkin Czar, Andrew Hackard, to play this upcoming release. (Hint: we also have a capsule machine in our booth and the last golden ticket… Er… seat will be won there.) There are also a ton of signings, interviews, and announcements planned.

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Monica Valentinelli

Vampires Are Not Dead

Posted on July 13, 2012 by

New Hero Volume OneThis is not a rhetorical statement, dear readers. Vampires are *not* dead. Today, Stone Skin Press shares with you a taste of “Fangs and Formaldehyde,” which was included in the upcoming New Hero anthology. This anthology is part of a Kickstarter for Stone Skin Press – Anthologies of New Fiction.

Why are my vampires different? To be blunt, I wanted a legitimate reason why vampires could not fall in love or get too emotional. In my setting? They die. Not only that, they die horribly. Their death is so terrifying to them, in fact, that the ones who have stuck around for a while strive for ennui just to survive.

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Monica Valentinelli

Writing On, Writing On for the Clarion Write-A-Thon

Posted on June 29, 2012 by

Last Sunday, I started writing for the Clarion Write-A-Thon to raise funds for their workshop. I have pledged to write 50,000 words by August 4th. So why am I doing this? Well, it’s like I said in this blog post: It’s a rough publishing world out there, I know, but part of what Clarion and […]

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Monica Valentinelli

Celebrating International Short Story Day with New Hero Launch

Posted on June 20, 2012 by

The New HeroYay! Today is the official pre-release of New Hero from Stone Skin Press. This day also marks International Short Story Day. What a great day to launch an anthology of iconic heroes!

You’ve heard me talk about “Fangs and Formaldehyde” before when I said why I couldn’t wait for New Hero. This story features a vampire named Atlas who helps other vampires. To celebrate this character’s debut, I would like to answer a Reader question.

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Monica Valentinelli

Choose How I Destroy The World

Posted on June 16, 2012 by

Greetings and salutations fans of explosions, plagues, floods, fires, and alien invasions!

Yes, that’s right. I am talking to you, oh fans of Michael Bay, who love disaster stories of every shape imaginable. Lean in for a super special announcement!

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Monica Valentinelli

Prometheus Movie Review

Posted on June 15, 2012 by

Last night, we meandered into the gorgeous Sundance theatre to watch Prometheus on the big screen. For those of you who haven’t heard of this film before, here’s a link to the Prometheus trailer.

I went into this movie as someone who was familiar with the Alien franchise (which began in 1979!) but who hasn’t read the comics or seen the films in some time. I had also heard a lot about this film from the wildly mixed reactions as seen in my social media feeds.

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Monica Valentinelli

Squick Out Your Friends. Heebie Jeebies Kickstarter

Posted on June 14, 2012 by

Heebie Jeebies Sample CardHeebie Jeebies is a card game of “unsettling notions” designed by Dave Cook. Don’t be fooled by the smiley faces! The game, which I describe as a cross between a tell-all game like Truth or Dare with a Garbage Pail Kids flair, has been announced through crowd-funding source Kickstarter. The Heebie Jeebies Game Production Kickstarter has a few weeks to go yet for its goal.

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Monica Valentinelli

Three New Releases To Read (By Yours Truly)

Posted on June 14, 2012 by

You may have read about my 2011 new releases (which included games, fiction, and non-fiction) or seen the pictures where I showed The Queen of Crows in print.

Well, I’ve had two new releases so far (with a third on the way) and I haven’t really done a good job mentioning what those are. So let me rectify that RIGHT NOW and give you some clues about what’s available for you to either obtain, attain, read, ignore, obsess over or celebrate. (Hah, you get the picture.) There’s a ton more set to debut in third quarter, but until those hit the proverbial digital or physical shelves, can’t say just yet what those are.

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Monica Valentinelli

Round Up of RPG Freelancing Articles

Posted on June 11, 2012 by

For about a year, I’ve been writing about freelancing for the hobby games industry on the Geek’s Dream Girl website. Here’s a round-up of the articles I’ve been writing for the site:

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Monica Valentinelli

Throne of the Crescent Moon Review

Posted on May 24, 2012 by

Fantasy as a genre is rife with rich worlds, dense descriptions, and complex cultures. As a reader (and a writer) I’ve always been fascinated with how other authors explore cultures within the context of the genre. Sometimes, a culture is revealed through a character’s actions or speech patterns; other times, through the way a particular town or setting is described.

In my experiences, the majority of the books I’ve read keep diverse cultures at the background of the story instead of the forefront. Intellectually, I understand why this is. Often, there’s a lot of world to explore and, in the fantasies I’ve read, that means the story matches that as well. Still, I’ve often found my reading has been bereft of the richness of contemporary stories that were firmly rooted in “a” non-European culture in “this” genre. Is that a fault of the industry? No, it just means there’s been a gap in my library that this picky reader hasn’t been able to fill since I first read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho many years ago.

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