My GenCon 2015 Schedule

This year, my fan-facing activities will be related to Firefly and the GenCon Writer’s Symposium. There will be several books of mine available at the show, and you can read about those here. If you are a member of the press, please contact me privately so I can find time to spend with you. If I’m currently working on a project with you and you’d like to meet up, please feel free to send me an e-mail as my schedule is pretty full.

Thursday, July 30

10:00 a.m. – SEM1577156 Craft: Where to Start the Story ICC : Room 243

2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. – MWP Booth #1613

6:00 p.m. – SEM1577164 Craft: RPG Tie-In Fiction ICC : Room 243

Friday, July 31

2:00 to 3:00 p.m. – Signing in Author’s Alley

8:00 p.m. – ENnie Awards to announce the winners. Nominations for games I’ve worked on can be found here.

Saturday, August 1

11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. – MWP Booth #1613

7:00 – SEM1577146 WB: Monsters and Other Horrors ICC : Room 244

Sunday, August 2

11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. – Read & Critique – Room 244 with Geoffrey Girard and Delilah Dawson.

[Pre-Order] The Gorramn Shiniest Dictionary in the ‘Verse

Gorramn Dictionary

I am pleased to announce that, this Spring, a new addition to the Firefly ‘Verse will be hitting store shelves. It’s called The Gorramn Shiniest Language Guide and Dictionary in the ‘Verse, and pre-orders are now available.

The process and the approvals for this project was much different than what I’ve done previously for Firefly. All of my effort was strongly focused on writing the text, which is different from being a developer on a multi-book project where I get to see the text, layout, and most of the art ahead of time. Here, I spent a lot of time analyzing the show scripts, reviewing the language, and focusing on the individual words–some of which had alternate spellings! Plus, there’s a special interview in here with Jenny Lynn, the show’s translator as well, and I got the chance to hear some great stories.

I’m hoping that fans like you will be amazed to get a new, inside look at what it’s like to be involved with Firefly from a language perspective, and fall in love with the ‘Verse all over again. Thanks to my editors at Titan–I had a blast on this project!

My Books and Games At GenCon 2015

GenCon Indy is less than a few weeks away, and that means its time to update you with my schedule! In the first of two posts, I’d like to share with you which of my books and games you can expect to find at GenCon. The books and games on this list are the titles I have confirmed that will be at the show–there may be others, but this is what you can expect to find. Most of them are fairly recent releases, too, and came out within the past two years.

The “G” in GenCon is gaming, so let’s start with those!

Margaret Weis Productions Booth 1613

At the MWP booth, the entire Firefly RPG line will be available for you to buy. That means, you can pick up a copy of the following:

  • Firefly RPG corebook – Nominated and won multiple awards, plus it’s up for two ENnies this year.
  • Echoes of War: Thrillin’ Heroics won an ENnie’s Judge’s Choice Award recently. If you’re looking to get into the game, but don’t want to make the investment for the corebook and the supplements, this is your best way to do that.
  • Things Don’t Go Smooth is a GM-facing supplement that gives fans more Antagonists and tools to fine-tune your Firefly experience.
  • Smuggler’s Guide to the Rim is for players and GMs. It introduces Reputation rules, iconic characters, and more!
  • Ghosts in the Black is a campaign supplement designed by Robin D. Laws. This is the latest book in the line, and is filled with twists and turns.

Onyx Path Publishing Booth 1103

At the Onyx Path booth, four of the titles I’ve worked on will be available in print. They are:

  • Hunter the Vigil: Mortal Remains – Explore the Vigil as it pertains to mummies, changelings, prometheans, demons, and sin-eaters.
  • Vampire the Masquerade: Dread Names, Red ListDread Names, Red List explores the Camarilla’s “Most Wanted” List, naming those deemed most dangerous by the Justicars and their chosen deputies, the Alastors.
  • Gothic Icons – This was Onyx Path Publishing’s April Fool’s joke for 2015. However, so many people liked it the company kept it available for future customers. Enjoy!
  • Geist Ready Made Characters – Ready-Made Player Characters (Geist: the Sin-Eaters) includes the Crossroads Drifters krewe, who perform for the living and the dead. Characters designed to for instant use in your Geist: the Sin-Eaters game.

Signing and Miscellany

Now onto the books! I will have a signing from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. in the Author’s Alley area of GenCon. During this time, I’ve confirmed I’ll be bringing copies of:

  • Haunted: 11 Tales of Ghostly Horror – This is an anthology about ghost hunting that I edited for FR Press. Fantastic authors like Alex Bledsoe and Jess Hartley are in here!
  • Queen of Crows – Published early 2010, this is one of the first enhanced e-books to hit digital media. The story explores the gut-wrenching decision a shaman must make, once he realizes what dark future is approaching.
  • Redwing’s Gambit – This is a novella about conspiracy and paranoia in the space-lanes. Redwing’s Gambit is set in the shared science-fiction universe of Bulldogs!

I may be bringing some other books, too, but right now I’m trying to keep the options limited for ease of carrying. There may be other books at the show, like Unframed: the Art of Improvisation for Gamemasters, Gods, Memes, and Monsters, and For Exposure: the Life and Times of a Small Press Publisher. Be sure to watch for them. I’d much rather spend my time signing books than selling them, so come say hello on Friday!

Martial Arts Movies and My Flavor of Fandom

Big Giant Sword Fighting Avatar

A little known fact about me, is that I love martial arts movies and consider myself a fan. Today I am going to start with, what I feel, served as my launch pad into martial arts movies and my interest in art, games, books, movies, etc. from the Far East. Some of my earlier influences were Gremlins (1984), The Karate Kid (1984), Big Trouble in Little China (1986), Charlie Chan, and fables from Japan and China. In other words, it wasn’t any one specific thing, but a fascination that grew out of the American-facing snippets that I had access to about the Far East in general. As a kid learning and reading about new cultures for the first time, I was immediately drawn to the Far East for several reasons, and have been ever since to some degree. Mind you, I spent A LOT of time inhaling books as a kid and learned to read at an early age, and while I can’t say that I was immersed in pop culture, I definitely tapped into what I had access to, when I could.

Looking back, I can see this perfect storm of influences was further enhanced by Star Wars and a textbook I remember getting at a library sale. I loved (and still do!) Star Wars for many, many reasons. It wasn’t until much later that I realized one of the reasons why I loved these movies, was because there were Asian influences which I internalized. Darth Vader’s helmet, for example, was inspired by the samurai. But that, to me, really didn’t have as much of an impact as the relationship between Luke and Yoda did. The wise master teaching the young apprentice the ways of the Force, which was both mystical and powerful, which could be used for good or evil purposes… The swords that each Jedi protected and treasured, that were attuned to that warrior individually…(1)

As a kid growing up in the Midwest, I didn’t know the creative forces behind Star Wars, or understood movie magic, or thought about the specifics about the many Chinese and Japanese cultures, other than what I could get from the books I had access to. All of these faraway places(2) and stories from the Far East seemed, like the rest of Star Wars–magical. So, to uncover more “secrets” of the Far East, I turned to books. I don’t know the name of the textbook, but I do remember I had a book that was very colorful and was bursting with stories. In the textbook, there were colorful, three dimensional pictures of kirigami to illustrate the different fables. I do recall that Urashima Taro was one of them, and the other was a fantastical romance about a shapeshifting kitsune who fell in love with a wayward traveler. I loved these stories dearly.

Before I end this post, I want to add a comment about the gargantuan element in the room: Karate Kid. The thing about Karate Kid, for me, was that it sparked my enthusiasm to check out other films with martial arts in them, to get to the source. Yes, I very much understood that this was an American movie, and I didn’t have any issues with that–but it inspired me to start watching other films that fulfilled my desire for authenticity and more from the Far East.

Next time, I’ll make a paltry effort to start picking apart specific films, and see where this trail leads…

(1) If you’re interested in this aspect of Star Wars, check out Star Wars and Philosophy.
(2) They are on my list of places to visit some day, and I hope I’ll be able to afford to go.

    Mood: Pre-convention stress exacerbated by a hot, hot summer.
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: Now trying to figure out how to balance non-carbonated caffeine. In hell.
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Yogatastic
    In My Ears: Too much in between them!
    Game Last Played: Kingdom Rush
    Book Last Read: A big-ass stack for research. Again.
    Movie/TV Show Last Viewed: Um…
    Latest Artistic Project: Sewing project that turned out to be a pescatarian oni. Don’t ask.
    Latest Fiction/Comic Release: Gods, Memes, and Monsters
    Latest Game Release: Dread Names, Red List for Vampire: the Masquerade and Ghosts in the Black for the Firefly RPG.
    Current State of Projects: Read my latest project update. A new one coming soon!


Whispers in the Wind

Gromit Reading Avatar

I’ve had a number of people tell me over the past couple of months that I seem different, more relaxed and chill. This is true for a large number of reasons, some of which are diet-related, and others due to the fact that I’ve gotten closure on a number of long, drawn out situations that had been going on for a number of years. You’ll forgive me if I don’t expound on that last, but one of my coping mechanisms to having a public profile is that I need a buffer between me and Ye Olde Internet, so I tend not to post about the overly personal. Also: onions have layers. And, I’m related to Shrek in some fashion. I can pretty much guarantee it.

There are some things on my mind I do want to quickly address and share with you, so let me get right to it. Shanna Germain had mentioned on Twitter and Facebook that we should start proposing panels to cope with online harassment and negativity. I remember, many years ago, someone told me that Neil Gaiman had talked about professional PR training. (Like with many things in the sphere of the big “G”, I can’t confirm that as I don’t know him personally and didn’t find the exact quote, but I felt it was worth posting the original comment anyway, as it’s great advice.) I’ve been on the hunt for PR training ever since that time, and they don’t offer this service in my area. Panels, on the other hand, are a fantastic and welcome substitute for specific issues related to this topic. Having these conversations, I feel, is something that can help both new and established professionals who have a public persona and often find it difficult to cope with the eroding line between fan and creator, troll and victim. Many of my coping mechanisms are related to anchors that I do behind-the-scenes, so if you’re hoping for some things you can do in terms of sanity checks, let me know and I’ll draw up a post about it.

The second thing is that I’ve come to terms with the fact that, as I mentioned a few years ago now, I’m not the person to blog about contemporary topics or online kerfuffles. I’ve since come to terms with the fact that this is decidedly the case, as I do not feel a) qualified or b) able to keep up with the ever-changing nuances of particular issues. In addition to the time investment, I’ve realized that reading about these sorts of things does the one thing that I cannot allow — it impacts my work. When I was attending RWA meetings on a regular basis a while back, I remember Christine Merrill talking about how important it was to Protect The Work. I could see how Life, The Universe, and EverythingTM can get in the way of the work to some degree, but I didn’t grok that what’s happening online is a big part of that as well. For me, words are music. (It’s one of the reasons why I can mimic voices fairly well on the written page.) When I’m online, I hear dissonance. I hear vocal gymnastics and fireworks. I rarely hear the soft lullaby or the chirping of crickets during twilight. It’s always loud on the internet, and I need the exact opposite of that when I’m creating. I need that breathing room to stretch out and be safely free to roam.

There are, however, people that are doing amazing work and I’m going to try to shine the spotlight on them more often. My friend Emily Care Boss is one of those people. She was doing things in game design ten years ago that are just now starting to become more important. You can read more about her perspective on Gaming As Women and in this interview with Emily, here. The second person I want to mention today is Alethea Kontis. (Her name is pronounced Ah-Lee-Thee-Ah.) She’s recently put out a new collection called Tales of Arilland. Check it out!

That’s all I have time for today, since I just got back from CONvergence. I had a fantastic time, and there’s a lot of great things that came out of this show. Additionally, I had two firsts for my Build-a-World game show. (Three, if you count it was the last panel of the show!) First, some of the participants were so inspired that they now want to write in the world they created. Second, one of the participants, Martha Wells, did this fantastic write up about Build-a-World. Thanks to Martha, Catherine, Tex, Carrie, Paul, and John for participating, and to all the audience members who came out. It was a blast, and I’m happy to answer that “Yes!” There’s more on the horizon. Can’t wait to share all the news!

    Mood: This is my Chill Face
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: Managed!
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Convention recovery.
    In My Ears: Crappy rendition of Nothing Else Matters. Hey, you asked…
    Game Last Played: Ashamed to admit I have a new addiction. Kingdom Rush
    Book Last Read: [Research-Related]
    Movie Last Viewed: Ascension from SyFy
    Latest Artistic Project: Coloring!
    Latest Fiction/Comic Release: Gods, Memes, and Monsters
    Latest Game Release: Dread Names, Red List for Vampire: the Masquerade and Ghosts in the Black for the Firefly RPG.
    Current State of Projects: Read my latest project update. A new one coming soon!





Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore and game store near you.

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