Progress Report #6: Thar Be Dragons

I’m firing myself when it comes to these progress reports, but for the love of the stars…there’s a good reason why I’ve been fairly quiet on the writerly front.

While the Firefly RPG has been the primary focus for my day job, other projects I lovingly refer to as “zombies” have come back from the dead. Plus? Dragons or more aptly named: a multi-headed hydra who answers to the name Reality. Moving, hospitals, friends…my routine got buggered. Everyone’s doing well, just altered a bit as Lord Lardbottom is beginning to lose his sight (Do they make bifocals for cats?) and other human parts were tinkered with. (Thankfully, not mine as I am not a fan of hospitals in general, but will suck it up if I need to and am able to attend…with vigor.) Still, that doesn’t excuse my lack of bloggery, and I’m beginning to think it’s more valuable for me to write for you here, than Tweet or FB anecdotes. Hrmm…

And now we pause for a moment of discovery. I’m listening to Good Omens in the background for the first time, and ZOMG THERE’S QUEEN IN MY STORY ZOMG!!! A-hem. Yes, *huge* Queen fan. And I’m not sorry about it! Though I should say that singing Fat Bottomed Girls at the top of one’s lungs while driving will entertain shockingly bizarre looks from other drivers.

Annnnnd back to the task at hand. Routine? Yeah, that got shot to hell in some kind of bullet-tested handbasket. Potentially made out of glass, but not sure. So, I’m back to setting goals, to-do lists (it is squamous), and taking it one day at a time. Slow and steady wins the race. Don’t ya love turtles?

The good news about changes in life, the universe, and everything is that my theme song has shifted to the opening sequences for Rawhide. Oh, if ever…I am rollin’, rollin’, rollin’…

Games

My work on roleplaying games since the last progress report which, if I remember correctly, was accessed via a TARDIS. Here’s a status update on where I’m at right now.

  • Firefly RPG – The print edition of the Firefly RPG corebook is now available at a friendly local game store near you. Shiny!
  • Echoes of War: Thrillin’ Heroics – We surprised fans with a print compilation of our first four Echoes of War Episodes, including “Friend in Low Places”, and the Serenity Crew. We sold out at GenCon!
  • Echoes of War: Bucking the Tiger – A digital version of this Episode went live in the month of May as promised!
  • Things Don’t Go Smooth – This book is currently in layout and is slated for a Q4 release. I have a blog post you can read about on the MWP website. Get the lowdown on Things Don’t Go Smooth.
  • Hunter the Vigil: Mortal Remains – This book went live in May. I wrote and designed the interstitial fiction for this supplement; I also edited this book.
  • Cortex Plus Hacker’s Guide – I wrote an essay geared for Cortex Classic fans interested in tweaking their sheets for a more cinematic style.
  • Unframed: The Art of Improvisation for Game Masters – I wrote an essay about worldbuilding by the seat of your pants. Sounds about right, eh? This was released in July.
  • World of Darkness: Dark Eras – Wrote the Hunter: the Vigil supplement for this book for 1690s Colonial America. Threw everything and the kitchen sink into this supplement! It is jam-packed with story.
  • Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn RPG – I contributed to the Skaa supplement for this game and Logan Bonner is my developer. It’s still on the schedule; I hope to give you an update on this in the coming months.
  • Vampire the Masquerade: Red List – Working on it! We’re expanding the outline and dumping more into this supplement. Hang in there!
  • Vampire the Masquerade: Ghouls – I’m writing the fiction for this book, which will be edited by my developer. I’m also editing the main text.
  • …and more Firefly and soon-to-be-announced fun!

 

Comics

I am working on three original scripts, one of which I have a publisher for. I pitched to a few publishers and individual writers but haven’t heard anything back. (Yes, I’ve been depressed about the lack of responses.) Instead of waiting and pitching another five years to get a standalone comic published, I’ve decided to move ahead with a pair of scripts. From there, we’ll see. I’m in the project set up phase right now. More to come after some ink is dry! But yes, this is all on spec.
 

Fiction

Project set up for a pair of novels I need to finish by the end of the year. A light has opened for my Violet War novel, a possibility I cling to–and it’s rejuvenated me. Short fiction is on hold and I’m putting off revisions for a Lovecraftian novella in favor of my novels. Both are on spec.

My schedule will shift at the tail end of October, but I’m not waiting any longer to start working on these projects. Like Queen Bavmorda oh how I want the darkness to come so I can hibernate in my writer’s tower a touch, but the key word for me right now is finding a work-life balance that’ll support writing my own original work while I get these comics and novels done.

That’s all for now cats and kittens… Hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of “What Monica’s been up to!” and I’ll see you in a new blog post. I’ve got a Cortex Plus Halloween hack I’m mulling over and other hilarity of a funner (artistic) variety.

Because funner is totally a word. Funotally.

Cheers!
 

Yes, I’m working on a COMIC!

Hellboy Avatar

I’ve mentioned my desire to write more comics before; right now I have two floating around in my head. One is definitely a webcomic/comic; the other is a dark science fiction story that I’m adapting into a novella. (Partly, because the latter doesn’t have a home in a script format, and it’s the kind of tale that’s better as a screenplay/comic. I have a better chance of selling it in prose, actually.) I’ve also said, however, that writing comics requires something else — an artist, letterer, inker, etc. The creating good art part of my brain has long since fallen into disrepair; art direction is no problem for me, mind, but all those skills associated with drawing and graphic design are now rudimentary at best. I make stick figures cry.

Enter my friend Mark Stegbauer. Mark volunteered to partner with me, and I’m giving him a co-creator share. I may be bubbly about this comic and whatnot, but as I’ve explained to Mark, I’d prefer not to make any announcements until we’ve got content down. The business side of the equation is sorted, but with comics? If the creative aspect isn’t done and we’re not ahead of the game? No point in getting folks excited — even if it’s ONE fan — and have nothing to show for it. Not cool.

Yes, that is a more conservative tack. Especially since everybody’s aggressive about announcements and whatnot. Thinking long-term, as a newbie coming into the field, however, I’d prefer to take the freelancer’s approach and do-as-I-say rather than say-and-maybe-do. After all, this is my original work and my paying projects do take precedence. Right now, this is a hobby that I hope will turn into something way cool. Either way — EXCITING!

Be sure to check out Mark’s website: steg-art.com. Wooo-hoooo!

    Mood: I [F-bomb’ing] hate moving.
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: *coughs*
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: I went for a walk.
    In My Ears: Ummm…
    Game Last Played: Tetris
    Book Last Read: Love is the Law by Nick Mamatas
    Movie Last Viewed: Captain America: the Winter Soldier.
    Latest Artistic Project: National Craft Month
    Latest Fiction/Comic Release: Last Man Zombie Standing
    Latest Game Release: Firefly RPG corebook
    What I’m Working On: Primarily tie-in games work and novels.

An Interview with my Comic Publisher

Dropping in a quick note to let you know Red Stylo Media interviewed me on their website about my comic. If you notice, I didn’t talk about specific influences for this comic. I didn’t tap into comics for the story nor did I look at Frankestein-related renditions, like the Dean Koontz rendition, I took a page from the film The Last Man on Earth. I wanted to write a period zombie piece that emitted the feel of that movie and approach some of the larger Frankenstein themes. I feel comics as a medium has so much to offer storytelling-wise; it was awesome to write this. Anyway, I felt I’d be cheap CHEEP! if I mentioned comic titles here, since the story was inspired by a movie, so I opted not to.

Eventually, I’ll follow up with a post about some of my favorite comics, but for now… The self-promotion train is a-chugging along for “Last Man Zombie Standing,” Unfashioned Creatures, A Frankenstein Anthology.

Q: If you could be any monster, who/what would you be?
A: Well, it’s quite possible I already am one. Last I checked, I could be a cylon? If it was any monster, I would say a shapeshifter. Because really, being able to transform shapes at will is extraordinarily useful with or without the “monster” attached.

Go on… Read the interview!

Shameless Comic Plug

Monster Edition

Over at Red Stylo Media, you can get the Monster Edition of UNFASHIONED CREATURES along with two other literary-based graphic novels POE TWISTED and SHAKESPEARE SHAKEN for $50. Here’s a link to the monster bundle. Enjoy!

My first comic Last Man Zombie Standing is included in both the monster edition and standard edition. You can get your hands on a digital copy now and see a preview through DriveThruComics.com and Red Stylo Media. The print editions of both will be available early 2014.

On the Firefly, Unfashioned Creatures Launches, and Beyond

darkwing duck avatar

Phew! I know I haven’t posted a while and for that I apologize. This’ll be a longish blog post, but I’ve got a lot to share with you!

Browncoats Assemble

Serenity Crew CoverThe Firefly RPG launch has gone really well and feedback has been very positive. Fans have shared with us that this cinematic-style game feels like they were characters on the show. Since this was one of our major design goals, I’m happy to hear they’re having this experience at their gaming table. I’m always on the hunt to hear more actual play experiences, so if you’re diving into a session, don’t be afraid to reach out and let me know how it goes.

Our release plans began when we launched the Wedding Planners Classic Set for fans of that system. Then, we published the Gaming in the ‘Verse: Gen Con 2013 Exclusive and ran over twenty full-length demos at Gen Con.

Just this past week, we launched Echoes of War by publishing the stand-alone editions of Serenity Crew, Wedding Planners Cortex Plus, and Shooting Fish.

We have been clear about our launch plans all along. By releasing the combined and standalone versions of these Episodes, we’ve provided folks with options that work for them. If you picked up the Exclusive (which is not available through regular channels of distribution) you don’t need to get the three latest additions to the line. These releases are to launch the digital Echoes of War line, which is separate but compatible with the corebook and upcoming supplements.

In development, we’ve got several new Echoes of War adventures in varying states. We’re also knee-deep in the corebook as well. As of this morning, I’ve got over 100,000 words already in various states and there’s more coming. Now that the Exclusive is out, we’ve gotten a few questions and we’ll be answering those for clarity in the structure. For example, equipment and other details in the game is in line with the television show. They are there to serve the story through the characters you play. For this system, a bad ass gun or ship is only as useful as the characters who wield or fly ’em. A chair in Jayne’s hands is a much different weapon than if that same chair were in Kaylee’s.

We’ll be offering more examples in the corebook; there’s a few that we’re picking out for that reason.

It’s A-LIVE!

LastZombieStandingThe digital launch for UNFASHIONED CREATURES has gone better than I expected it to as well. My story, Last Man Zombie Standing, is one of several in this Frankenstein-themed anthology. I’ve also got my first comic review! Huzzah!

Here’s a little bit more about my first comic. You can catch a comic preview on DriveThruComics.com or on Red Stylo Media‘s website.

Hey, you got Zombies in my Frankenstein! In the midst of an undead apocalypse, one scientist tries to sustain the human race by cloning himself (again.) Unfortunately, things don’t work out exactly as planned. But then, do they ever?

Writer Monica Valentinelli and artist Josie Pi Grant bring a modern twist on the first, great literary zombie. The digital download includes a BONUS page from “Monsters and the Monsters Who Make Them,” a mini-series written by James McGee and illustrated by Alex Cormack.Last Man Zombie Standing


Through the Forests of Fear and Beyond…

Ah, creepy dark forests. How I love thee. So, this Friday is the 13th. FRIGHTENING I KNOW.

But ain’t Zakar cute? 🙂

Zen Zakar

That’s really all I wanted to say about that. Hee. I’m deliriously happy with the way everything’s going right now, but my back end administration and general houseliness needs some serious attention. That combined with deadlines, new art projects, pending trips, and the impending Halloween season of doooooooooom, I’m a little behind right now. Working on it, though! And that begins with disconnecting in 3… 2… 1…

    Mood: Moody Monday
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: Attempting a limit of two. Feeling groggy with a side of bleh.
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: The house. It cleans itself!
    In My Ears: Final Fantasy XIII Original Soundtrack
    Game Last Played: Dragon Age II
    Book Last Read: Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines.
    Movie Last Viewed: The Score
    Latest Artistic Project: *Still* *still* *still* need to take pictures… It’s on the list!
    Latest Fiction/Comic Release: Last Man Zombie Standing
    Latest Game Release: Serenity Crew, Wedding Planners Cortex Plus, and Shooting Fish
    What I’m Working On: Primarily tie-in games work and novels.


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