[New Release] Tales of Excellent Cats

Tales of Excellent Cats | Edited by Melanie Meadors

I’m so excited today! I have a new short story to share with you called “Arrows, Blood, and a Long Overdue Catnap”. This short story is set in the fantasy setting Monarchies of Mau and is part of an anthology titled Tales of Excellent Cats. The main character, Zach, is inspired by my orange tabby. Nicknamed “Lord Lardbottom” due to his unique features, he is a polydactal manx and I love him dearly. He doesn’t move around like most cats because he has no tail and extra toes–just like Zach in the story.

Preview of “Arrows, Blood, and a Long Overdue Catnap”

Zachary slumped against the side of the Sneakin’ Inn to wait for his next client in the
alleyway. He’d have preferred to meet inside at midday instead of outside at sunset, but
while the Sneakin’ Inn served award-winning mead, the noisy tavern was also a popular
destination for opportunistic thieves and spies. Zach hated all that cloak-and-dagger stuff
because he couldn’t sneak around or pick a pocket — even if he wanted to.

No, Zach was good at two things, punching and napping, but only liked one of them. If
he could afford it, the older orange tabby would spend his afternoons dreaming about his
younger days, back when he was a lithe scrapper taking on those oh-so-proud members
of House Korat. He didn’t have the fancy pedigree, house, or coin required to lie about in
his hammock all day. What he did have was an intimidating reputation. His closest friends called him “Lord Doglover” on account of his doglike meaty paws — seven digits on each one! — and extra heft in his tailless, round bottom from a love of dog mead. He hated the nickname, but he let his friends get away with it. When his massive fists landed a blow, most other cats didn’t say much of anything.

Thankfully, Zachary figured out a way his unique “talent” could earn him enough coin
to keep his thatched roof from leaking. Being a guard for hire wasn’t enough to get him
off a steady diet of dried cod and the occasional pinch of lake grass, though, not for a poor tomcat like himself. Oh, what he wouldn’t offer to the Temple of the Nine for a freshly cooked hen? Or a smoked duck! But Zach wasn’t the wishful-thinking type; he knew no amount of prayer could whip up an expensive feast. Coin was the only thing that mattered. He preferred to earn his coin legally, but sometimes he didn’t have the luxury of picking his clients. Hopefully, Zach still had a few lives left. If not? Well, he didn’t want to think about it. Nobody paid him to be a philosopher; his clients gave him coin to ensure their safety.

“Zachary? Von…Shadow?” A cloaked figure stepped from behind a stack of empty barrels, and the waning light of the sun behind them cast a long shadow as if to say: Be careful, Zach. This cat’s not to be trusted.

To read the rest of the story, check out Tales of Excellent Cats from Onyx Path Publishing which was edited by Melanie Meadors. This collection of short stories is now available in multiple formats. You can grab a copy of this fun cat-themed anthology on DriveThruFiction.com, Amazon.com, and the Barnes and Noble Nook store.

[New Release] A Happy Gnome to Benefit Extra Life!

A Happy Gnome | D&D 5E | Valentinelli

Back in November 2018, I had played in Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition game that was live-streamed to benefit the Extra Life for Kids charity. A. Happy “Hap” Gnome is a silly multi-class (4th Level Rogue, 1st Level Bard) character created for an Extra Life Live Stream charity event during Gamehole Con 2018. The game, which was run by Mike Mearls, included John “JinJur” Kovalic, Lysa “Oooh, I’m an angry fish!” Chen, Pat “Pala-Dad” Kilbane, and Rob “Correllon” Wieland.

Now, I’m pleased to announce you can download Hap’s character, his sordid backstory, and a new Bard College called the “School of Bard Knocks” on DMsGuild.com. A. Happy Gnome was illustrated by John Kovalic. A portion of the proceeds will automatically be donated to Extra life.

Enjoy!

Check out my interview with Jonathan Mayberry for IAMTW!

Firefly Encyclopedia | Monica Valentinelli | Titan Books

Heya, I am happy (and ashamed) to report I was interviewed by Jonathan Mayberry for the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers I’m a member of! The interview is from November, and in Jonathan’s wisdom it went live when my new Firefly Encyclopedia from Titan Books debuted.

You can read my IAMTW.org interview on the site, and check out tons of great interviews with other members. I’ll be cursing my In Box for burying my notifications for at least ten minutes…right before freezing my proverbial bum off. It’s cold out there so stay warm!

[Pre-Order] Proving Grounds Solo Card Game and Novella from Renegade Games

Proving Grounds | Renegade Games

Maia Strongheart stands alone against the world. A cabal of conspirators has framed her for the death of her own mother, the Sun Queen, and they intend to usurp the throne from her family. To prove her own innocence and reclaim her birthright, Maia must step into the Proving Grounds to complete a trial that will stretch her combat skills to the limit. Will the Wizened’s chosen daughter vanquish her foes in the arena? Or will she be overwhelmed by the conspirators and their evil aspirations?

If you’ve never played a solo game before, this is a great place to start. There is a training game and six different gameplay modules. Once you’ve learned the basics, add a single module or mix and match to your tastes. If you’re feeling truly adventurous, put them all together for a true test of your gladiatorial combat skills!

Proving Grounds is a unique title that’ll be released this Spring from Renegade Game Studios. The release is a solo card game plus novella! I designed the fantasy world and wrote the novella titled: “Only the Strongest Has the Heart of a Wizened Queen”.

You can pre-order Proving Grounds now from the Renegade Games store. Exciting!

My CONfusion 2019 Schedule

Hey friends,

I’ll be attending CONfusion 2019 next week in Michigan, and will be attending and speaking on panels. There’s some fun things in programming I’ll be checking out, and I’m looking forward to a great time.

Autograph Session
Saturday, TBD, Eerie Ballroom
Join the attending authors at CONfusion and get your books signed! I’ll be bringing bookplates if you don’t want to drag any of my books to the reading.

How Fears Shape Superstitions
Sunday, 11:00 AM, Allen Park
From black cats-as-familiars to the number 13 being bad, all modern beliefs are rooted in folklore and ancient traditions that have been affected by political and social mores. Panelists will share examples and then discuss whether or not these powerful beliefs are harmful or helpful.
Panelists: Steve Buchheit (M), Lucy A. Snyder, Sarah E. Gibbons, Nino Cipri, Monica Valentinelli

Author Reading
Sunday, 1:00 PM, Rotunda Reading
Authors: Nino Cipri, Stacey Filak, Monica Valentinelli

Expanding The Definition of Witchcraft
Sunday, 2:00 PM, Southfield
Witchcraft in fiction often taps into real world tragedies, myths and folklore, spiritual practices, sexuality and gender treatment through the lens of Western occultism. Witchcraft, however, is more than riding brooms or dancing naked. Panelists will explore the definition of witch and then provide examples of witches through underrepresented lenses.
Panelists: Monica Valentinelli (M), Josef Matulich, Paul Kemner, A. Carina Spears

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