Monica Valentinelli is a writer and game designer who lurks in the dark and full-time freelancer. She writes both original and media tie-in fiction. To date, she has a few dozen creative credits with more on the way.
Published stories and games include “Tomorrow’s Precious Lambs” for EXTREME ZOMBIES, “The Dig” for the LOVECRAFT ZINE, and STRANGE, DEAD LOVE for Vampire: the Requiem by White Wolf Publishing.
Her non-fiction repertoire includes online articles and print essays. She has written for sites like: HowtoWrite Shop.com, Crackle.com, SFWA.org and, more recently, GeeksDreamGirl.com, and BookLifeNow.com. Her essays have appeared in books like FAMILY GAMES: THE 100 BEST and THE BONES: US AND OUR DICE.
For more about Monica, visit mlvwrites.com and learn about her publications and her work with clients like John Kovalic and Onyx Path Publishing.
Posted on July 13, 2012 by Monica Valentinelli
This 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.
Posted on June 29, 2012 by Monica Valentinelli
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 [...]
Posted on June 20, 2012 by Monica Valentinelli
Posted on June 16, 2012 by Monica Valentinelli
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!
Posted on June 15, 2012 by Monica Valentinelli
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.
Posted on June 14, 2012 by Monica Valentinelli
Heebie 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.
Posted on June 14, 2012 by Monica Valentinelli
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.
Posted on June 11, 2012 by Monica Valentinelli
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:
Posted on May 24, 2012 by Monica Valentinelli
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.
Posted on May 16, 2012 by Monica Valentinelli
On Saturday, we headed to the Wisconsin Bat Festival where we not only learned about bats, why they are endangered, and why that’s bad for the environment — but we got to see a few live and in person as well. Here are some pictures of bats from the festival!
The Bat Festival featured live bat programs with bats from around the world, including Wisconsin’s backyard bats. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources experts were on-hand with information about bat habitats, predators and white-nose syndrome. Several authors were also at the event, including Brian Lies, author of the children’s books Bats at the Beach, Bats at the Library, and Bats at the Ballgame.
Posted on March 29, 2012 by Monica Valentinelli
I have had a long, sordid relationship with the Final Fantasy franchise. While I haven’t played every game, I have played most of them. When you play Final Fantasy, there are certain elements that you come to expect: cactaurs, chocobos, moogles, summoning, and BIG GIANT SWORDS. Final Fantasy XII began to stray from the iconic characters found in the property with its attention to new mechanics and a more realistic art style heavily inspired by the steampunk genre.
Final Fantasy XIII further deviated from the heart of the franchise. Though it did offer eidolons (one per character) this far-flung futuristic story jarred a lot of fans who hadn’t seen Square Enix dive that heavily into science fiction since the days of Cloud and Sephiroth in Final Fantasy VII.
Posted on March 23, 2012 by Monica Valentinelli
Kelly McCullough, author of the WebMage series, dives into the fantasy noir genre with the debut of Broken Blade. Dubbed the Fallen Blade series, this first book introduces Aral Kingslayer, a former assassin for the now-dead Goddess of Justice named Namara.
I feel McCullough’s strength has always been building worlds that the characters are immersed in. Broken Blade explores a different side of dark fantasy than the typical European/medieval fare. The world is a blend of East meets West where remnants of martial arts and Asian mythology merge with European politics and the rights granted by proper lineage.
Written as a fantasy noir, there are plenty of mysteries to explore in this book. Kingslayer is the anti-hero; he’s the drunk who sits in the corner of a bar who’s depressed and feeling sorry for himself — for good reason. His ever-present familiar, Triss, lives in his shadow as Aral simply tries to get through the day.
Posted on March 6, 2012 by Monica Valentinelli
The Halloween Tree is the audiobook version of the 1972 publication by Ray Bradbury. The story is a fantastical look at the history of Halloween. Spanning several cultures, the characters experience the customs of people from Ancient Egypt, Rome, Mexico, the British Isles and others.
The story is impeccable and Bradbury does what he does best: social commentary through the guise of a story. Here, he teaches us about our own customs by forcing us to peer into the past without beating us over the head or giving boring explanations. I’m not the only one who thinks The Halloween Tree is spectacular. In fact, the story is so popular the animated version of The Halloween Tree was featured on Cartoon Network and it’s also been incorporated in Disneyland‘s Halloween decorations.
Posted on February 27, 2012 by Monica Valentinelli
If you read my What’s New at Steve Jackson Games report, you might have seen the Plush Tentacle on that list. Even though I work for the company, there’s a lot of toys and games I don’t personally design or help create. This particular project was already designed, created, and in the manufacturing queue before I started!
Posted on February 14, 2012 by Monica Valentinelli
I was excited when Russell and Eddy first approached me to work on Strange, Dead Love. For the past couple of years, I have attended several romance writing workshops to learn more about the genre from an author’s perspective. Several of the sessions were dedicated to paranormal romance and we often took a lit crit approach to the genre by pulling out contemporary examples: Laurell K. Hamilton, Charlaine Harris, Anne Rice, Yasmine Galenorn, Patricia Briggs, etc. The subject was something I knew a lot about and, as a Vampire: the Requiem player and author of Scenes of the Embrace, I was happy I could contribute to help other players dive into this genre.
Posted on February 7, 2012 by Monica Valentinelli
In November 2011, I took on the role of Marketing Director for Steve Jackson Games. I telecommute, which helps me get a lot more done than I would if I was down in Austin. I recently spent a week down there and talked about my trip when I returned from Austin on my blog. The experience reminded me of working for a restaurant or a newspaper because everything hinges upon product getting out the door in a timely fashion. For a small company with a big reputation, day-to-day operations can get pretty crazy especially when we’ve got a lot of new staff.
Posted on February 6, 2012 by Monica Valentinelli
The Dark Tower CD from Nox Arcana was developed solely by Joseph Vargo as a themed complement to The Dark Tower anthology series. The music composed for this particular collection seems to be more understated than their other offerings. There are two types of experiences I’ve had with Nox Arcana’s music. The first is evident through Blackthorn Asylum, The Necronomicon, Phantom of the High Seas, and the Theatre of Illusion.
After you hear the opening refrain, there’s typically a story threaded throughout the music so it’s often a bad idea to play the CD at random if you want the full experience. I found this was especially true for Grimm Tales, which is one of my favorite Nox Arcana CDs.
Posted on November 6, 2011 by Monica Valentinelli
A letter came across my feeds today written to film critic extraordinaire, Roger Ebert. In this letter to the editor, the writer states that:
Ever ask yourself what gave birth to the horror genre in the first place?
A: You’re a horny teenage boy and girls terrify you — which you find exciting: the combination of fear and the erotic. Almost every horror film taps into it and that’s why it’s a genre watched mostly by males.– A Reader’s Letter to Roger Ebert
Posted on October 26, 2011 by Monica Valentinelli
On September 27th, Monte Cook took over for Mike Mearls as a columnist on the Wizards of the Coast website. Penning “Legends and Lore,” the series dives deep into the core of Dungeons and Dragons to explore the essence of this game. I recently had the chance to pore through these articles and he brings up some great points that I hadn’t thought of. What I feel this column does, is open the door to community-focused discussion and feedback from all gamers, not just players who prefer a particular edition of Dungeons and Dragons.
I really liked some of the subjects Monte addressed when he talked about Magic and Lore in Dungeons and Dragons. In the article, he posed these questions: “What if the game assumed no magic items? What if magic items really were just hard-fought-for treasure that made characters better?”
Posted on October 21, 2011 by Monica Valentinelli