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

[Photos] Costumes and Artists from C2E2

Posted on March 24, 2011 by

Thought you might want to see a collection of the photos I took at C2E2. There’s more C2E2 goodness coming when I talk about Skullkickers, what’s new with Tim Seeley, my Magic the Gathering demo and a smattering of new comic titles. Hope you enjoy these!

Zombie Survivors | C2E2 2011

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Monica Valentinelli

C2E2: Show Wrap-Up and What’s Changed in 2011

Posted on March 23, 2011 by

C2E2 2011 in Chicago We recently made the trek down to Chicago for the second year of C2E2. The attendance was up by ten-to-fifteen thousand people year-over-year to reach in upwards of 40 to 45 thousand; you can see by the picture at the top that the show was hopping. I was really impressed by the attention to detail to make this show fun. Last year, the show’s organizers walked the floor on Sunday, which had died down considerably, and asked the vendors and booth managers what could be done. Huge, huge, difference between this year and last year. Huge.

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Monica Valentinelli

News from my Front: New Stories and Games

Posted on March 10, 2011 by

Since releasing one of the first enhanced e-books entitled The Queen of Crows, I’ve been pursuing publication of short stories and other works over the past year. I’d like to share some exciting news with you here. In honor of Read an e-book Week, links will primarily point to the digital version.

Hope you take the time to read the post and check out my new short stories and games.

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Monica Valentinelli

Cthulhu Dice Review

Posted on March 3, 2011 by

Imagine sitting down at a diner and breaking out…CTHULHU! Well, to play this game that’s exactly what we did. Produced by Steve Jackson Games, Cthulhu Dice is a rapid descent into madness. You can literally lose your mind during this game or, as our waiter put it: your lunch.

We played with three people. To set up, each player gets three tokens which are included with the dice. Those beads represent your sanity. Then, the owner of the game (Moi, in fact) gets to choose who casts the first curse. Player A rolls to curse Player B and gets a tentacle. Player B loses one point of sanity to Player A and gets to roll a response. Player B rolls a Cthulhu. Now everyone loses a point of sanity. The turn has thus ended and the next player gets to go.

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Monica Valentinelli

Dragon Age: Redemption Trailer for New Web Series

Posted on March 1, 2011 by

For those of you who have played Dragon Age, you’re probably hungry for more. I just finished Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age: Awakenings and am anxiously awaiting Dragon Age 2. In addition to the novels and the Dragon Age RPG, a new web series will be debuting this summer starring Felicia Day. According to Doug Jones, (Yes, people. This is the guy who played Abe Sapien from Hellboy among other roles…) he said: “In Dragon Age: Redemption, Felicia Day stars as Tallis, an Elven assassin hired by the Qunari to capture a rogue mage intent on wreaking havoc throughout the world.”

To read more about this upcoming web series, be sure to visit Felicia Day’s blog where she links to several interviews, including one with Jimmy Fallon. Check out the trailer below!

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Monica Valentinelli

The Disappearance Novel Review

Posted on November 17, 2010 by

Having read some of Bentley Little’s work before (MY FATHER’S SON), I was really interested in picking up THE DISAPPEARANCE to see what twists and turns were in store for me.

The story takes place in our modern-day world, and infuses our worst fears into what should be a very fun weekend. A group of college students from UCLA travel to the world-renowned Burning Man festival, and experience a bizarre turn of events: they wake up from a drug-induced state to find that Gary’s girlfriend Joan has disappeared. Worse, when they contact the police, they don’t believe that she has ever existed because her digital identity has been wiped cleaned.

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Monica Valentinelli

Free Halloween Flash Fiction

Posted on October 31, 2010 by

I am pleased to present you with a free flash fiction piece as my Halloween treat to you. This story is entitled “A Different Kind of Treat.” For more about my games, stories and books, visit www.mlwrites.com.

A Different Kind of Treat


Blood-red shafts of sunlight filter through a dirty cabin window, kissing a row of colorful glass bottles. One by one the bottles shine with anticipation as they reveal their grisly contents. Three eyes spin in a green flask; a pair of wings beats urgently in another.

“What’s that, Momma?” A child’s finger points to a jar of wrinkled entrails sitting high on a kitchen shelf. The boy, who stands about three feet tall, is covered in dust and flour. His skin is marred with muddy blisters.

Halloween Night | Courtesy of sxc.hu“Oh nothing special, Alwin,” Belinda replies airily as she pulls a frilly apron over her head. “Just something I cook with now and again. You hungry?”

“Want candy.” Alwin rubs his bloated stomach. “Chocolate, ‘specially.”

She flashes him a crooked grin and picks a small book off the burnished wood counter. Has it really been a year since she last used her recipe book?

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Monica Valentinelli

Free Halloween Movies at Crackle.com

Posted on October 21, 2010 by

Crackle.com Halloween Movie CollectionCan’t wait for Halloween? Love scary movies as much as I do? Here’s a way to watch horror movies for free!

Get a head start on celebrating all things spooky by checking out the broad selection of free horror movies for Halloween at Crackle.com. Every year this legal, free movie site hand-picks a special Halloween collection of horror flicks for you to enjoy.

In addition to their broad selection of free horror films, this year Crackle.com’s Halloween movie collection includes over twenty-five movies.

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Monica Valentinelli

“Dress Up” Your Dice for Halloween. Make a Dice Coffin Costume!

Posted on October 18, 2010 by

Dice Coffin LidTo help you get into the spirit of Halloween, FlamesRising.com project manager talks about making a costume — for her dice. In this article, find out how Monica made her dice coffin and where she got the inspiration to add black tulle, a mask, and red roses to the coffin lid.

Here’s a sneak peek at what she has to say: Victorian-inspired Halloween decor is one of the hot themes this year; you can find black lace and dead roses almost everywhere you look. Birds like ravens and owls are pretty popular, too. Now, I went a little crazy nutso with the scenery because I wanted it to look three dimensional. I used black tulle, which you can find in any wedding aisle. The flat, red roses were from the scrapbooking section of our local craft store and the owl, mask and bat were die cut stickers from a Halloween display.

Find out more in this fun post about Monica’s quest to make a dice coffin costume.

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Monica Valentinelli

Creeped out by “The Blob”? Watch it Free at Crackle.com

Posted on October 16, 2010 by

Crackle.comLast week, I talked about why 13 GHOSTS is a classic horror film. For this week’s article, I decided to talk about a different kind of monster — THE BLOB.

“Released in 1988, The Blob remake is the kind of horror movie that makes you groan, laugh and scream. Creepy violins and cheerful images of a small town set the mood. The first people you meet? Teenagers!”

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Monica Valentinelli

Why “13 Ghosts” is a Classic Horror Film. New at Crackle.com!

Posted on October 7, 2010 by

Crackle.com | Free Movies and TelevisionWhile every day is Halloween for me, this time of year brings out the best in a lot of free television and movie websites like Crackle.com.

During the month of October, I’m writing about horror movies for Crackle.com from a fan’s perspective. This week, I take a look at the classic horror film 13 Ghosts, which was produced by William Castle.

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Monica Valentinelli

Creating a Video Trailer to Promote Your Game or Book

Posted on September 25, 2010 by

After seeing some of the trailers that I’ve created, a lot of people ask me how easy it is to create a book trailer and whether or not it’s worthwhile. A lot of people are claiming that one easy way to promote your books is to offer a video book trailer through YouTube! or your website. While the jury is still out as to whether or not sales can be attributed to someone watching a video book trailer, they can help spread the word and, for horror, can allude to the theme of the work.

In this post, I’ll talk about how you can create a promotional trailer for your book or game on a tight budget.

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Monica Valentinelli

The Law of Nines Review

Posted on September 23, 2010 by

Terry Goodkind is one fantasy author that I’m all-too-familiar with. I’ve watched THE LEGEND OF THE SEEKER series and have read most of his books about Richard Rahl and the rest of the characters. So, when given the opportunity to read THE LAW OF NINES, I was curious to see what Goodkind would do with a modern tale.

THE LAW OF NINES is fascinating to me in a lot of ways, because this wasn’t a story that I had expected to read. For starters, this is a lot grittier and darker than some of his other books because it is set in our world – a world with no magic. Although strange things do happen, Goodkind’s emphasis is on the “cost” of how characters might react to these reality-bending occurrences. The results, while not pretty, are wholly believable and help maintain great tension throughout most of the book.

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Monica Valentinelli

Inside ACD Games Day

Posted on September 1, 2010 by

ACD Games Day is an annual tradeshow put on by hobby games distributor ACD Distribution LLC that connects retailers with the top publishers. This year’s show was bigger than last year and offered exhibitors and attendees to explore a brand new location in Downtown Madison.

Industry veteran Boyan Radakovich, who is ACD’s new Marketing Manager, had this to say about his first ACD Games Day.

“I wanted to make sure that ACD Games Day had the feeling of a marquee tradeshow. We moved to the beautiful Monona Terrace Convention Center and Hilton Madison for our event programming. We also increased the number of seminars to sixteen total, including key manufacturer seminars like the Wizards of the Coast track, the Mayfair Demo-2-Demo program, and many others.”

Having attended a show the previous year, I could definitely tell the difference between this year’s and last year’s show. This venue was bigger and well laid out. There were demo tables set up with games throughout the hall and there was a lot of attention to detail — included projected exhibitor and sponsor logos above the exhibition hall.

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Monica Valentinelli

First Look at Munchkin Zombies

Posted on August 31, 2010 by

Last week, I was able to sit down with Steve Jackson from Steve Jackson Games and a group of playtesters at ACD Games Day to play a round of the upcoming Munchkin Zombies game.

Having played several flavors of Munchkin, I thought I knew what to expect when we started to play. I couldn’t have been more wrong. You see, I thought this game would be like Munchkin: Cthulhu, where you play humans that have the potential to turn into zombies. Boy, was I off-the-mark! In Munchkin: Zombies you play…a zombie! Immediately, I was struck by how disgusting and wrong the cards were. Class cards cover all the different zombie types from your favorite movies, books and world myths. There are Strong Zombies, Fast Zombies, Plague Zombies — even Atomic Zombies! There’s also also the chance you can pick up different types of zombie Mojo, too, which functions as a special ability.

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Monica Valentinelli

Wizard World 2010: an Artist’s Alley Perspective

Posted on August 26, 2010 by

Like comic conventions? This year for Wizard World, otherwise known as Chicago Comic-Con, I spent the weekend in Artist’s Alley with Leanne Buckley. First off, I should point out that I couldn’t help but compare this convention to C2E2, which was held at the McCormick Place just this past April in Chicago. The difference between the two is pretty distinct, because the venues had a different emphasis from one another. As many fans pointed out to me, there was a noticeable lack of comic book publishers at Wizard World. Most, if not all, of the publishers that were missing had booths at C2E2 this past Spring, so I wasn’t surprised that there was a lack of publishers at this show. I was happy to see that Avatar Press was at Wizard World, and I had a great chat with them. Admittedly, I was a little curious why some of the local Chicago comic book publishers didn’t have a booth at the show.

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Monica Valentinelli

Cthulhu Week: Cthulhu’s Reign Anthology Review

Posted on August 18, 2010 by

Sometimes, when I’m itching for a story, I’ll pick up an anthology and check out some of the short stories that lurk within. To me, a good anthology has a broad range of stories; some will appeal to me, and some won’t. Released in April 2010, CTHULHU’S REIGN is a collection of tales edited by Darrell Schweitzer that gives authors like Jay Lake, Ken Asamatsu and Gregory Frost the opportunity to describe what happens after the Old Ones appear.

My interest in this anthology is more curiosity than anything, because so much attention is often placed on summoning Cthulhu or the Old Ones. So what happens after they appear? Well, if these stories are any indication, humankind wouldn’t last long. Such Bright And Risen Madness In Our Names by Jay Lake is a great story that meshes the first person voice so common in Lovecraft’s stories with a post-apocalyptic feel.

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Monica Valentinelli

Notes on Designing THE QUEEN OF CROWS

Posted on July 6, 2010 by

FlamesRising.com is pleased to present you with the design notes for THE QUEEN OF CROWS, which is available at DriveThruHorror.com. This unique e-book was designed by Monica Valentinelli. In addition to her work here at FlamesRising.com, Monica is also an author and game designer who specializes in the horror and dark fantasy genres.

For more information about this project, be sure to visit VioletWar.com or Monica’s blog located at www.mlvwrites.com.

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Monica Valentinelli

Vampire Week: Night Myst Review

Posted on June 23, 2010 by

NIGHT MYST is the first book in a vampire series by Yasmine Galenorn. Written in the first person point-of-view, the premiere novel of the Indigo Court focuses on Cicely Waters: who she is, who she was and who she might become in the midst of a deadly power struggle between two, different types of vampires.

At this point, I’d like to point out that while I’ll make every effort not to include spoilers, there may be some in this review. Consider yourself warned. As a reader, I often approach a new vampire series with some amount of hesitation, because vampires, in my mind, should be monsters.

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Monica Valentinelli

Grimm Fairy Tales Graphic Novel Review

Posted on June 17, 2010 by

The way that publishers and authors present a fairy tale has always been somewhat interesting to me, because the tales I’ve read are often a mixture of advice, local customs and fantasy. Characters either live happily ever after or they wind up in the midst of a tragic situation they cannot find their way out of. GRIMM FAIRY TALES, published by Zenescope Entertainment, takes a much more traditional view of the fairy tale. (You may recall that Zenescope Entertainment is the same comic publisher that will be producing the CHARMED comic based on the television series.) Zenescope encourage their readers to “enter a world where morality is constantly tested and the shocking repercussions of one’s choices must always be faced.” In this first collection of full color comics, there are six fairy tales to explore: Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Hansel & Gretel, Rumpelstiltskin, Sleeping Beauty and Robber Bridegroom.

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11 Tales of Ghostly Horror

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