My New Gig As Brand Manager, Writer for Firefly

Today, I am thrilled to announce that I am the Firefly brand manager for Margaret Weis Productions. I will also be writing for the line, too! Margaret Weis has been a joy to work with and I have a fantastic team filled with very, very talented people.

The Firefly license, which encompasses the hit Fox television series by Joss Whedon, will incorporate role-playing games and supplements so you can game in the ‘Verse.

More news to come!

The Minis Fantastic

Just wanted to let you know that my very *first* miniature game is now up on Kickstarter. I worked on the setting development for War Echoes and got to do a ton of world building for different scenarios in action, mystery, and conspiratorial themes.

One of the coolest things I’ve seen here are the miniatures. It’s a very strange (if not wonderful) feeling to see the signature character you wrote about in a physical form.

If you want to jump in on this one, the Kickstarter for War Echoes by Battle Bunker Games just launched last night.

Romance, Vampires and Men

One of the questions that popped up for Russell Bailey and Eddy Webb, the developers for Strange, Dead Love, alluded to the impression that romance was primarily for women. The question really struck me and I want to talk about it in a more generic context about paranormal romance than address what it means to Vampire: the Requiem.

For the past couple of years, I’ve been involved with a romance writer’s group. I am not what you would consider a traditional romance reader or writer. Sap is really not my cup of tea. My flavors tend to run darker, like the types of relationships you might see in Dracula or Buffy: the Vampire Slayer. The reason why I dived into this group was to overcome my (for lack of a better word) stupidity about the genre as a whole from a creator’s perspective. When I first started, I was hesitant to infuse lipstick with vampires in my own work.

This group of men and women took my flowery impressions of romance and really helped me better understand it from a technical standpoint and, even better yet, a reader’s point-of-view. Romance isn’t just about one thing (e.g. smooches, a box of chocolates, or tears). Those elements — whether they’re part of the setting or not — allow the characters to express their emotions. A romance isn’t a scene or a dozen roses: it’s a story arc just like any other.

Those emotions get stronger as the story progresses. BUT! (And this is a big but in my book…) It’s harder to pick up a romance two-thirds of the way through. Like any other book, you really have to start from the beginning and understand what happens between those two characters in order to feel the emotional impact of their relationship.

Getting back to vampires…

I’ve read a lot of vampire fiction and watched, well, too many movies to count. Some authors like ghosts or zombies or fairies? Me? I’m a vampire girl. Tried and true. Like traditional romance, there are many flavors of paranormal romance that include vampires. There are some stories that don’t dive into the nature of a vampire and focus on the mortal who faces the predator instead. There are others that highlight the tragedy of the romance because vampires are damned, evil creatures. And then? There are some romances where vampires are just window dressing.

When I think about audiences for paranormal romance, I think about audiences for other emotionally-driven genres like horror. I feel, and continue to feel, that whether or not “a” man or “a” woman will like a particular title comes down to personal preference. With romance, it’s tough because it’s also heavily-influenced by cultural norms and attitudes. Take physical contact for example. If I just met you, how would you feel if I walked down the street with my arm around your shoulders? Men kissing in Europe means something different than men kissing in the States. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Based on my experiences, I don’t think romance is exclusively for men or for women. That’s what marketing is saying. That’s how they sell and, from what I’ve learned, companies like Harlequin and the authors who work for them are dedicated to providing what their established audience wants to read. They do an amazing, amazing job!!!

Anecdotally (for I don’t have hard numbers on this) paranormal romance does seem to attract a broader audience because there’s often other plots happening at the same time. Genre lines are pretty blurry, but paranormal romance and urban fantasy are often intermixed because of that. To an author, though, the romance is about the story between the characters. If you get the chance to talk to a romance author — of any sort — I highly recommend that you do. These conversations changed my view on romance entirely and have allowed me to introduce those types of stories into my own work.

I have the utmost respect for all flavors of paranormal romance and the authors therein — which is why I was thrilled to be a part of Strange, Dead Love. I can only hope my contribution did the genre justice within the context of Vampire: the Requiem. Guess I’ll just have to find out what you think! *gulp*

Heads Up! Help Interview White Wolf for Strange, Dead Love!

Vampire: the RequiemRemember when I announced I was working on Strange, Dead Love? Today, posted an open call for fans to ask questions about the paranormal romance sourcebook. Both Eddy Webb and Russell Bailey will dive in and spill all their secrets.

What do you want to know about Strange, Dead Love? Ask your burning questions in the comments below. Then, on Monday, October 3rd, we’ll shoot your deepest desires over to Eddy and Russell.

The finished interview will debut on on Sweetest Day, October 15th and will include ten questions chosen by White Wolf. Not all questions may be answered.

Pop on over to and fire away! Here’s the link:

[Guest Post] Tools and Equipment for Dice Castle Adventure

My second installment in the Adventure to Dice Castle went live on Geeks Dream Girl recently. It’s dubbed Tools and Equipment: Adventure to Dice Castle.

Here’s one of the items I recommend:

8. Business Cards – You can find inexpensive business cards almost anywhere for first time buyers or through special deals. I wouldn’t order a lot of them right off the bat, but having a business card is definitely better than not having one. When you give them out, try to get the business card of the person you’re networking with. — SOURCE: Tools and Equipment: Adventure to Dice Castle

I really love writing this series because it’s giving me the chance to put freelance writing for the hobby games industry in a fun context. While today’s post is less of a parody than the one I’ll write for next month, it’s necessary in the sense that there are tools you’ll need to write, play and design hobby games.

‘Til next time!

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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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