Apex and The Writer’s Symposium

This year at GenCon, I’ll be speaking on panels at the Writer’s Symposium. Apex Book Company talks about who’s going to be in attendance and gives a shout-out to Firefly.

“One of the disadvantages to being at the end of the continent is that you have to be more selective about which cons you can go. I get one shot a year, so it has to pack in as much as possible. Fortunately, Gen Con fits the bill on the gaming end as well as the writing end. It’s feels like a secret that one of the largest genre-related writing conferences is part of the Con. Almost a ‘con within a con’. If you’re a gamer and a genre writer, there really is no better value. This year will be the 19th Gen Con Writer’s Symposium and my third as an attendee.” — SOURCE: For writers, a ‘con within a con’ at the Gen Con Writers Symposium by Nathan Hall.

In addition to my GenCon panels, I will have a few signings scheduled and a We Are Dust reading for “The Button,” which is a Lovecraftian apocalyptic tale about a female nuclear physicist and the terrifying decision she must make. That anthology will be available at the show.

See you there!

Dribs, Drabs, and Newslings

The Tick Weapons Lab Avatar

Phew! Coming off a very intense “get thine house in order” weekend. My plants are complaining a bit. My dryer busted, too. Feh. It’s too hot and my greenery, save the jalapeno plant, is not liking the humidity. See also: I think my carrots are ready to be pulled up, but I have NO idea if that’s true or not. My endive is looking fairly pathetic, like a scribbly-scrawny green mutation. I’m thrilled my mini rose bush is doing well, but then again… Not sure what to do *next* with it. Will it survive through the fall? I do not know, though I would like to get some purple flowers to off-set the yellow and orange I have — because pink is too girly. [Insert nerdy rant about how pink used to be a boy’s color and it changed for marketing-related purposes.] Where’s Captain Planet when you need him?

Anywho, it’s been wands a-flying there this morning. I’ve added some panels for my Geek*Kon schedule and am starting to prepare for my GenCon events, including a reading, panels at the GenCon Writer’s Symposium, and signings at the Margaret Weis Productions booth. I’m really excited about the release of the Exclusive and am happy to see a lot of speculation about it. We posted a sneak peek last week and that’s gotten some interesting commentary. After that, it’s wrangling all the details for my trip to WorldCon in October.

We’re experiencing an unnatural (as in: hot enough to fry eggs on a sidewalk) heatwave, which means I’ll continue to hide in my house. I wither and shrivel up like the Wicked Witch of the West when it’s too hot. Cold’s more my thing. Well, the Fall — provided we get a “true” sweatshirt-and-shorts season. With hiding, comes the inevitable movie catch-up. I saw Anna Karenina which was a stunning, underrated film. This was spectacular.

And then I saw Upside Down. It was awful. Just… It wasn’t just the non-existent science bits, the romance wasn’t believable, because the starring pair were never not in love. They were separated by memory loss and obstacles, but there was nothing internal that they each had to overcome. Love at first sight made this movie impossible to pull off, because when two characters are already at that starting point and are then separated (but don’t necessarily feel the pain of that) when they get back together, there’s nothing gluing them to the viewer. There’s no tension, no conflict. It’s just: “Meh.” And don’t get me started on the gravity of the… Um… smexx0rs.

In other drabbles, there are many fine games which were nominated for a 2013 ENnie Award. Those announcements went live today and Rimward, which is a game I contributed to, was one of them. Congrats to all!

I’ve also had an update on my first comic. (Yep, that’s not going to get old… Is it?) Last Man Zombie Standing will debut as a stand-alone release from Red Stylo Media. I’ll get the specifics on the date soon. But… Yeah, no pressure. NO PRESSURE. GAH!

That’s all from me today. I’ve got to get back to the dread. office. cleaning. [Insert Booooooooos here.] I need a clutter-free space because a waterfall of words is coming on. When I get like this, you can set me up with a caffeine IV and forgive me for muttering around the house to myself. It’s time to kick all my creative projects into overdrive. Boo-yah.

    Mood: Gorramn it. I hate being trapped inside my house because it’s TOO hot.
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: Not enough. (Rectifying quickly.)
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Select, Start
    In My Ears: I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor. Changing the channel in 3… 2… 1…
    Game Last Played: *coughs* Candy Crush. Otherwise known as the time-sucker.
    Book Last Read: Shadow something or other. It’s a re-read. Studying, yo.
    Movie Last Viewed: The Arrival. Yep, it’s Charlie Sheen on normal.
    Latest Artistic Project: *Still* *still* *still* need to take pictures…
    Latest Release: “The Button” We Are Dust anthology and for gaming, a fun Scion: Extras (Supplemental Yet Can Be Somewhat Useful On Occasion Scions)

Because Calisthenics Are Gentler

Spike and Giles... Together at Last

I’ve been on the hunt for period books from the nineteenth century, and I came across this little gem. The Girl’s Own Book was written by Mrs. L. Maria Child and was first published in 1834. Applewood Books has a ton of period historical tomes ranging from cookbooks to this one, which is essential a book of manners with a lot of social commentary attached. I’ve got a copy of the The Boy’s Own Book ordered and on the way.

There is a ton of information in this like poetry, basket-weaving techniques, gardening, games, and exercises. There’s also a lot of illustrations that serve the “how to” aspects of the guide. Here’s an example:

“CALISTHENICS. This hard name is given to a gentler sort of gymnastics, suited to girls. The exercises have been very generally introduced into the schools in England, and are getting into favour in this country. Many people think them dangerous, because they confound them with the ruder and more daring gymnastics of boys; but such exercises are selected as are free from danger; and it is believed that they tend to produce vigorous muscles, graceful motion, and symmetry of form.” — SOURCE: The Girl’s Own Book

For context, the first YMCA was a volunteer-run organization that started in London. In the U.S., according to the YMCA website, centers didn’t open until the 1850s. And, even more remarkably, a freed slave by the name of Anthony Bowen opened up a YMCA in 1853, which predates the Civil War by eight years or so.

So why are these things important? By piecing together different facts, I am building a sociological narrative that I can tweak and apply to my fiction. Or, in other words… I don’t want to bend my rules of worldbuilding without knowing where I can break them.

P.S. Geeking out about a book for cartoonists from the 1920s. This was a reference for Walt Disney. Hee.

    Mood: Procrastination station. Really don’t want to clean the house, but…
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: Eh. Not sure if I want to go there.
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Up, down. Up, down. Up, down.
    In My Ears: One cat. Snoring.
    Game Last Played: Candy Crush <---I WISH I HADN'T. Book Last Read: Encyclopedia of Superstitions
    Movie Last Viewed: A re-watch of Tai Chi Zero
    Latest Artistic Project: *Still* *still* *still* need to take pictures…
    Latest Release: “The Button” We Are Dust anthology and for gaming, a fun Scion: Extras (Supplemental Yet Can Be Somewhat Useful On Occasion Scions)

Glorious Nachos. A Buffalicious Recipe.

The Tick Weapons Lab Avatar

Been a ton of serious-minded posts lately, and I’d like to make up for that by admitting something shameful.

I have a love affair with nachos. GOOD nachos. And, I have found the perfect summer recipe. Cheese in a can is an abomination, a thing to be feared. Powder? UNNATURAL. You truly need to have the right cheese, REAL cheese, and fresh vegetables in order to get your nacho on. Chips must not be soggy or over-salted, either.

(You can see I’ve put a lot of thought into this. Hee.)

With that, comes a summer recipe I’ve created, a concoction of flavors so ridiculously mouth-watering that I could have this for dinner several days straight. I give you…


White or Blue Corn Tortilla Chips
1 pound chicken breasts
Romaine lettuce (strips)
1/4 c. Buffalo Sauce
Blue Cheese
Carrots (Shavings)
Celery Pieces (small)
Blue Cheese Dressing

Cut chicken up into small pieces and grill. Add buffalo sauce and, while that’s heating up, continue separating the chicken into smaller pieces. You want enough buffalo sauce to coat the chicken, but not so much it’s drowning in it.

On a plate add nachos, then your lettuce. Then drizzle blue cheese dressing across the entire plate. After that, then add the chicken. Sprinkle with your carrot shavings, celery pieces, and blue cheese crumbles. Enjoy!

Progress Report #3

I haven’t posted one of these since the end of March, and for that… I apologize. If you’re just following up on these now, the progress reports are to check in and show you what’s up in Monica-land. I’m happy to report that all plates are spinning and balanced appropriately. I may even have a bit of a tan. SHOCKING, I KNOW!

I’m back from CONvergence which is, in my opinion, the best-run convention in the country. There is always something to do whether you’re by yourself or not and folks are very, very friendly. I stayed across the way and that turned out to be the best, possible decision. No standing in long lines for the elevators; very easy to go back and chill if I need to.

The panels went great and I’m very grateful for the fine conversation and company of so many wonderful people. This was a fantastic convention and sorely needed. I’d been averaging somewhere in the neighborhood of four-to-five thousand words per day for almost two months straight, and the break totally recharged my batteries. Thanks, all! 🙂

I am still recovering post-con, so e-mail communication is a little sparser than normal as I slog through and get projects done.

Since a lot has happened since the end March, I’m going to give a bullet point recap of what I’ve done. Note to self: provide these updates monthly… Second note to self: no wonder my office is a disaster area.


  • Scion: Extras – The annual White Wolf April Fool’s joke was an absolute blast to write. I had a ton of fun with this one. After the fact, we provided a Scion style Irusan write-up.
  • Gaming in the ‘Verse: GenCon 2013 Exclusive – What’s 268 pages and full of Firefly? This limited edition game book is a preview of both the Firefly RPG corebook and Echoes of War, our line of digital adventures that will launch soon. The official release date will be the first day of GenCon. You can order a copy through www.margaretweis.com — you don’t have to go GenCon to get a copy.

I have a number of games and supplements that are in development. The ones listed here are either on my immediate “you must do this now” horizon or the first draft has been handed in.

  • Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn RPG – Thanks to the fine folks at Crafty Games, I’m able to announce that I worked on the Skaa supplement and handed in my first draft.
  • Echoes of War: Old Friends In Low Places – I am writing an adventure for the Firefly RPG that takes place on Hera. My first draft is due shortly.
  • Firefly RPG – Working on the revisions to the outline now and then assignments will be handed out. The writing continues! This will be released in stores February 2014.
  • Vampire the Masquerade: Red List – I’m partnering with Matt M McElroy and diving into this with bloody abandon. Bloody.


I cut back on my short story work in order to focus on long form, which has mightily decreased the size of my list here. Next month, I’ll put little word count bars in so you can see what progress I’ve made.

  • The Women Who Called Down The Train – This is a Lovecraftian Orient Express story that’ll appear in an anthology. I read the editor’s draft for the first time at CONvergence and the story went over really well. I also received some feedback for the historical and pacing elements of this terrifying tale.
  • My Compliments To The Tailor – I promised to donate this story to charity, but I’m not quite happy with it yet. I’d prefer to expand it some and I’ve gotten some historical fact-checking back on the Victorian-era voice. It’s just not long enough in my book, and I’d rather provide some value even if it is free.
  • The Red Door – The novella is 40% done and I hate every damn word of it. I went back and storyboarded it last night. Due to the nature of this story, I have some word lists to build ahead of time.
  • Traitor’s Masque – Alternately titled “Argentum.” I’m also going back into this and storyboarding certain sections, because I want to make the story tighter and more exciting. Pacing is crucial for this one.


  • Last Man Zombie Standing – This stand-alone comic will be available in an anthology called Unfashioned Creatures, A Frankenstein Anthology late this Summer. Want to see a preview? Check out the inks for Page 5.
  • The Adventures of Lord Lardbottom and Captain Whinypants – I have a few options available to me for comics, and I’m exploring those. My current plan is to get a year’s worth of scripts done for this satirical comic before moving further or finding artists.


  • ROFL! – John Kovalic’s new party game debuts from Cryptozoic Entertainment later this month. I had both hands in this project and it was fun to see it through to completion. Watch for it at a games store nearest you!
  • Exalted Third Edition Kickstarter – I worked behind-the-scenes as the invisible ninja for this Kickstarter. We ended up just shy of $700,000, which set the current record for the most-funded RPG.

Previous Posts Next Posts

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


Back to Top