Worst. Name. Ever.

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There’s great power in a name. Yesterday, I was reading Science Daily which — if you aren’t subscribed to this website — I strongly recommend you do.

The first terrestrial discovery of ringwoodite confirms the presence of massive amounts of water 400 to 700 kilometers beneath Earth’s surface. Ringwoodite is a form of the mineral peridot, believed to exist in large quantities under high pressures in the transition zone. — SOURCE: Water-rich gem points to vast ‘oceans’ beneath Earth’s surface, study suggests

Ringwoodite? REALLY?!?!?! What’s that unusual stone you’re wearing? Oh, my pendant? It’s fluorite mixed with ringwormite… Er… Ringwoodite. Sounds entish.

Obviously, I’m being very silly about this… But there are names I can’t stand, awful character names that sound like nails on a chalkboard to me, and locations that just make me giggle. Lizard Lick. No Name.

This, of course, brings me to my other pet peeve — more than three names for the same character! Even then, there had better be a good reason why I have to keep track of multiple names.

Ugh. Just ugh.

    Mood: Shamrock shake, baby.
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: Managed. Seriously. THERE WERE EVEN VEGETABLES.
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: HAH HAH HAH
    In My Ears: Natalie McMaster’s fiddle
    Game Last Played: Tetris
    Book Last Read: A huge pile o’ reference books.
    Movie Last Viewed: Push
    Latest Artistic Project: National Craft Month
    Latest Fiction/Comic Release: Last Man Zombie Standing
    Latest Game Release: Freedom Flyer
    What I’m Working On: Primarily tie-in games work and novels.

Steampunk Emporium eBook Review

Steampunk Emporium

In honor of National Craft Month, I thought I’d review one of my beading e-books, Steampunk Emporium. Now, for bead books I prefer a PDF downloadable format. I don’t feel that beading instructions can be correctly relayed with text only in an ePub file. The file does come with chapter bookmarks, but isn’t broken down further than that and the page numbers aren’t clickable. For ease-of-use, it’s best to read the Table of Contents then go to the appropriate chapter. A more hierarchical breakdown would be ideal for me.

Steampunk Emporium is a book that offers five main themes for jewelry-making: Atlantis Expedition, Zeppelin Pirate Attack!, Absinthe Fairy Interlude, Jurassic Valley Exploration, and Clockwork Tea Party. Within each of these categories, there are four or five projects ranging from mixed media designs to wirework. The skills required to make each piece also vary. For example, the Azure Cog Earrings employ simpler wireworking skills than the Adventurer’s Fob Watch, which definitely necessitates a familiarity with polymer clay.

So who do I feel would best benefit from this book? I think anyone who is involved in steampunk costuming would really like the variety of designs. For the average beader, the materials required are a little more involved. The components required for these pieces are not inexpensive, but the plus side to this is that each piece is unique and every step is outlined with a photo. Even if your polymer smiley faces, so to speak, wind up like Dali-esque melty faces, the photos will help, so I don’t think you’d be buying materials for the sake of having them.

The author, Jema Emilly Ladybird Hewitt, thought of everything. There is flash fiction at the beginning of each chapter, an explanation describing what steampunk is, additional resources to explore with clickable links to websites, a glossary, and a guide to working with vintage items that includes taking watches apart. It is themed very specifically to steampunk.

If you’re into steampunk — especially costuming — I do think this 130 page eBook worth a buy for the ideas that aren’t run-of-the-mill. Just keep in mind that the digital functionality of the PDF isn’t optimal.

Steampunk Emporium is available at DriveThruFiction.com.

Sample Comic Page for Last Zombie Standing


Thought you might want to take a peek at Page One for Last Man Zombie Standing. Here it is! Love writing comics and I hope to do more of them.


PANEL 1: The first image is a close-up of piles of newspapers lying on the edge of a lab table. The date is March 8, 1964. The headlines read: “U.S. Scientists Blamed For Outbreak.” “Millions Undead.” “Human Cloning A Disaster.” “Apocalypse Now!” Here, the title of the comic may be superimposed on the left hand side of the image in a gory, stylized font.

Silent Panel

PANEL 2: In this image, we see we’re inside a science lab; the room is in total disarray. Piles of books and newspapers are stacked haphazardly on the floor. Tubes hang down from the ceiling. There are lab benches piled high with bottles of different shapes and colors. The light source is directed toward the right corner. The windows have been boarded up. There are mousetraps scattered across the floor, ashtrays filled with cigarette butts, and empty bags of airport peanuts. Mary Tyler Moore and other models adorn the walls; their pictures have been ripped out of magazines and taped up for decoration.

1 Dr. Powell (off screen from right): Dare I?

PANEL 3: We see DOCTOR POWELL leaning toward a coffin-shaped glass tube filled with an electric blue fluid. The tube sits at a 45 degree angle. Inside the propped tube, lies the body of Doctor Powell’s clone, 000138, but we can’t tell who the man is yet, just that he’s male. Doctor Powell is a tall, spindly man with high cheekbones, heavy brows, and a thin mustache. He is wearing a traditional white lab coat, shiny black shoes, and tweed pants. His clothes are worn and threadbare. A ballpoint pen hangs over his ear. His hair is graying at the temples and he looks malnourished. He still wears his beat up name tag and there is an old metal flashlight sticking out of his pocket. He also wears a broken watch. On his right hand, between the thumb and forefinger, is a series of digits: 000137.

2 Dr. Powell: Why, there’s no telling what the two of us could do. Build armies! Clone Eve! Find the cure!

PANEL 4: Here, see a close up of “Dr. Powell” in the tank and our suspicions are confirmed: this clone is Dr. Powell. He is not as malnourished as the scientist is, and he is clean-shaven, but the resemblance is clear.

3 Dr. Powell: Or should I say: “Just the one of us?” Yes… That’s right…

Thuni the Uni

darkwing duck avatar

I was sick last week (still recovering) but managed to sneak in one crafty-type item. When I’m not collecting comic book art, I tend to favor line art pieces a la Keith Haring and really like the Tokidoki line, which is based off of one artist’s work — Simone Legno.

So… This happened. Thuni is an inspired mashup of miscellany. Just got an idea and went with it, really. Kind of nice not to plan for a change. If you’re wondering why the lines are weird, well…I drew and filled this in with Sharpies and Sharpie paint markers, which are oil-based. Different effects between the two and, when the urge to doodle strikes me, I may go over the lines again just to reinforce the color. (If you want to see a larger image, you can click on these.) A good experiment, either way, and it’ll definitely help me sort out how to paint my mega-sized Munny. Well, that and I’d REALLY like to recreate those door-knockers from the Labyrinth.

Tokidoki Thuni One

Tokidoki Thuni Three

Tokidoki Thuni Two

    Mood: I feel a great disturbance in the Force.
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: Some.
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Yeah… That’s an ouch.
    In My Ears: Daft Punk. Yo.
    Game Last Played: Sonic All Star Racing Transformed
    Book Last Read: Lovecraft’s Monsters anthology
    Movie Last Viewed: Push
    Latest Artistic Project: National Craft Month
    Latest Fiction/Comic Release: Last Man Zombie Standing
    Latest Game Release: Freedom Flyer
    What I’m Working On: Primarily tie-in games work and novels.

Happy Masala with Rice Accident

Spike and Giles... Together at Last

“Chicken tikka masala was created in the 70s. Turns out a chef made up a new dish combining cream of tomato soup with…” (1)

A friend of mine in London told me that story after I mentioned how I happen to love Indian food (Tikka Masala in particular) but know absolutely nothing about the cuisine or its origins. What little knowledge I have gleaned about the cuisine and the country are small impressions of spice diversity. Yep. Total n00b.

In a continued effort to prepare dishes myself (as opposed to frozen or eating out) the other night I was making dinner and opened a jar of tikki masala sauce. Um… From June 2013. (Note to self: check labels at all times.) Frustrated I was completely hosed, I grabbed my jar of Garam Masala spice, a can of coconut milk, tomato sauce, and tomato paste.

VOILA! Happy accident!

Of course, I can’t call what I made chicken tikka masala and shouldn’t be classified as such, but I will say this: sometimes the best recipes do happen accidentally or are inspired by an original dish. In this case, to avoid a major disaster. Which… Yeah, those have happened on occasion. See also: the reason why I haven’t used my tart pan yet. Anyhoo… I love little stories like these. Food is one of the ways to build out worlds and characters. So much cultural history can be found in what people eat. This particular story happens to span not one but three countries!

(1) The footnote to this is that apparently Chicken Tikki Masala’s origin is hotly contested. From this 2009 Times article, there’s a row over the dish. This 2011 Food Detective article digs a little deeper. Jury’s still out on the nom!

    Mood: It will be above 30 degrees this weekend. SPRING IS COMING!!!!
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: I refuse to tell you. Nah!
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Tappity-tappity-tappity.
    In My Ears: STILL avoiding the f-bomb fish tank.
    Game Last Played: Sonic All Star Racing Transformed
    Book Last Read: Lovecraft’s Monsters anthology
    Movie Last Viewed: Looper
    Latest Artistic Project: National Craft Month
    Latest Fiction/Comic Release: Last Man Zombie Standing
    Latest Game Release: Freedom Flyer
    What I’m Working On: Primarily tie-in games work and novels.

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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 near you.


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