MANW: April Month-End Recap

Wonder Woman Avatar

This month was unusual on multiple levels. For starters, I went on a writer’s retreat to catch a break, and I decided to pledge for CampNaNoWriMo. Then, life happened and all the things I didn’t plan for that were above and beyond the norm. Travel. 99+ Notifications. Emotional upheaval. Problem-solving. Friends and family. And then, the little things started to slip, because deadlines don’t stop for anybody. I did make art, and I had a lot of fun painting, lettering, and diving into my original stories. It remained a priority for me, but I wound up making up for lost time. This, to me, was a sign that Make Art Not War was working, because I treated it like a commitment that I couldn’t ignore.

Now, on the other side of this, I just want to make art and get myself sorted. In May, I am taking a break from Facebook and Twitter. Work-related announcements and posts will still go live, but I’m not and can’t check in for personal use. I really need the silence right now, and am looking forward to diving into the pile.

With that in mind, here’s how I did:

My Make Art Not War 2017 Challenge pledge:

  • I pledge to devote one hour a day to my original art.
  • If I don’t feel motivated, I pledge to write down the reasons why I wanted to take this challenge for fifteen minutes or one-to-three pages whichever comes first.
  • I pledge to mark down on the calendar whenever I complete a day’s efforts.
  • As the challenge creator, I pledge to create a weekly accountability post every Wednesday beginning on January 9th. Comments will be open. Hashtag #makeartnotwar2017 #manw2017
  • I pledge to check into social media twice a week for personal use, and once a month with my local community of artists and writers.

April 2017 Challenge Recap

  • Due to unforeseen events, making art every day was a challenge. I did add extra hours on a couple of Saturdays, but there were a few points when I didn’t feel like making art at all.
  • Motivation was a problem for part of this month. I was willing, but that wasn’t enough to close the loop between “Here’s an idea!” and “Here’s all this shit going on!” So, I treated myself to one or two days off where I did nothing but play Pokemon Go and wander around. Following those short breaks, that drastically helped my motivation. Self-care is crucial to
  • Tracking didn’t happen. In fact, I’m realizing this is the first thing to go.
  • Social media time wasn’t managed, but I don’t feel that impacted my motivation or my mood. Monitoring it was a distraction, tapped into my need to remain informed, and an emotional release when the ending was in sight.

I did feel another shift when I started working out more, and that helped to turn things around as well. I don’t feel this month was a loss, and I do think I did just about as well as I could have.

SPEED Theme Recap

April’s theme was SPEED. As an optional theme, I thought this was fun when I needed a boost. Where the theme didn’t work, however, is when I was unfocused or didn’t have a clear image of what I was making in my mind. The increased rates of production worked out great for me when I knew what I was doing, and I feel this is something to keep in mind for the future. While word sprints can help get past writer’s block, the main issue with them is that, for me, a clear lack of direction results in wasted words.

That’s it for April. May starts tomorrow, and I’ll reveal the new theme then. Thanks for reading!

Friendly Friday: Lilith Saintcrow and the Terror of Squirrels


One of the best ways to learn what it’s like to be a full-time novelist, is to learn and listen to those who are doing the work. Lilith Saintcrow is one such writer. This is an author who is not only compelled to write, but who can be found with a pen (or keyboard) at the ready. I admire her ability to navigate multiple genres and audiences, research what’s needed without falling down the rabbit hole, and retain her focus despite the many, many changes happening around her. Through the years, she’s written the kind of books that have provided many a fun romp while fleshing out the depth and breadth of characters like Dante Valentine and Jill Kismet. I really enjoyed The Bannon & Clare Affair series–and not just because I appear as an assassin in it. Alternate history is my jam, because I love the “what if” questions that address the complexities of our world when one important aspect is changed. The presence of magic, a new island, or a battle won instead of lost generates so many questions!

In addition to stories and her writing advice, which she’s compiled in The Quill and The Crow, Lili also has a sense of humor and, as it turns out, a hilarious problem with squirrels. Her history with these woodland creatures is the stuff of legend, and she’s not only blogged about SquirrelTerror! for her readers’ benefit–but there’s also a SquirrelTerror! book as well. In fact, her stories are so epic they inspired me as well. Many moons ago, when Loki tapped my shoulder (Uh… This happens often.) to say: “Hey Monica, wouldn’t it be great if…?” Rewrite a gothic icon to feature a real-life heroine? Never. Right? Ahem. Yeah, so for Fish Fool’s one year, I did. I took Poe’s “The Raven” as my inspiration; I wound up mapping the beats and rewrote it to star Lili and a rather scary squirrel.

I hope you enjoy this bit of fun, and I encourage you to check out Lili’s books and hop on her reader’s bandwagon. You can find them wherever books are sold. For more about this author, you can visit, find her on Twitter @lilithsaintcrow, or follow her on Facebook on the Official Saintcrow Page.

Without further adieu, here’s my poem in all its unabashed glory.

The Squirrel

Once upon an evening dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
How to script an ensuing volume for my readers galore,
While I nodded, nearly dozing, suddenly there came a scraping,
As of some one gently chafing, up against my screen porch door.
`’Tis my fuzzy feline,’ I muttered, ‘chafing at my screen porch door –
Only this, and nothing more.’

Ah, distinctly I remember it was an overcast day in November,
And each separate dying leaf dragged its dry bones across the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; – vainly I had sought to borrow
Whence my books surcease of sorrow – sorrow for a lost amore –
For I’m but a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Saintcrow –
A goddess in my house for evermore.

Alas! My children’s laughter, diving headfirst in my box of chocolates
Distracted me – filled me with fantastic delights never felt before;
Oh no! Dear, kitty! To still the beating of my happy heart, I stood repeating
I forgot about my kitty entreating entrance at my back porch door –
My hungry kitty is still entreating entrance at my back porch door; –
This it is, and nothing more,’

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
`Dearest kitty,’ said I, `truly your forgiveness I must implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping my back door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you’ – here I opened wide the door; –
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, `Saintcrow!’
This name I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, `Saintcrow?’
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the living room turning, questions within me burning,
Soon again I heard a scratching somewhat louder than before.
`Surely,’ said I, `surely that is my kitty at my screen door;
Let me see then, why he’s sore with me, and this mystery I’ll explore –
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; –
‘Tis my kitty and nothing more!’

Open I slid my door like butter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately squirrel of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched outside my screen porch door –
Perched upon a gazing ball just beyond my screen porch door –
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this gray creature beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
`Though thy crest be white and fuzzy, thou,’ I said, `art sure no yellow bird.
Ghastly foul and ancient vermin wandering nightly because you could –
Tell me what thy lordly name is within this Green Man’s wood!’
Quoth the squirrel, `Saintcrow.’

Much I marvelled this ungainly pest to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer had much meaning – and its similarity to my own it bore;
Still, we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with a talking squirrel just outside his screen door –
Bird or beast above a mirrored ball just outside their screen door,
Bearing such a name–or any other–as stately as `Saintcrow.’

But the squirrel, sitting lonely on the gleaming orb, spoke only,
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered – not his furry tail he fluttered –
Till I scarcely more than muttered `Other friends have climbed before –
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have climbed before.’
Then the pest said once more, `Saintcrow, Saintcrow!’

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
`Doubtless,’ said I, `what name it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught no doubt by some rabid reader whose unmerciful teasers
Followed fast and followed faster till his decrees one burden bore –
Till the chants of his hope for my next book his burden bore
Of “Saintcrow” and nothing more.

But the squirrel was still beguiling my remaining kitties into smiling,
Straight I ushered a tuxedo-furred feline in front of squirrel and ball and door;
Then, upon my pillow sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this plague-carrying pest of yore –
What this grey, grim, disgusting, gaunt, and plague-carrying pest of yore
Meant in groaning o’er and o’er: `Saintcrow.’

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the creature whose beady eyes now burned into my dear kitty’s fur;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On my cushion’s silken lining that the lamp-light gloated o’er,
But whose lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er,
His memory shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the autumn air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by tree limbs whose bare arms wafted through my window yore.
`Wretch,’ I cried, `thy God hath lent thee – by these angels he has sent thee
Respite – respite and nepenthe from thy owner’s memories from before!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget all that came before!’
Quoth the squirrel, `Saintcrow.’

`Augur!’ said I, `thing of evil! – augur still, if squirrel or demon! –
Whether agent sent, or whether readers tossed thee in my grassy knoll,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this fairy land enchanted –
On this home by horror haunted – tell me truly, I implore –
Is there – is there books in Hel? – tell me – tell me, I implore!’
Quoth the squirrel o’er and o’er, that one dire word: `Saintcrow.’

`Augur!’ said I, `thing of evil! – augur still, if squirrel or demon!
By the Heavens that bend above us – by those gods we both adore –
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distance fading,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels named Saintcrow –
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels named Saintcrow?’
Quoth the squirrel slowly, lowing: `Saintcrow.’

`Be that word our sign of parting, squirrel or fiend!’ I shrieked upstarting –
`Get thee back into the wood and the Night’s ghostly shores!
Leave no grey tuft as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! – quit the ball outside my door!
Take thy teeth from out my heart, and take thy form evermore!’
Quoth the squirrel, `Saintcrow.’

And the squirrel, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid ball of gazing just outside my screen porch door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow ‘cross my floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted – nevermore!

MANW Week 17: A Reminder to Be Gentle

Gentle is a word that is often misassociated with weakness and with hyper-femininity. Only, gentle is a word that should hold great importance, but is often overlooked because it is viewed to be antithetical to strength. Gentle is the word I need when I cannot muster up the will to make art, when I don’t make a deadline, when life throws me a curveball and I feel like I’ve messed up. Gentle relates to healing, relaxation, soothing waters, and gentle breezes. And yet, often it’s dismissed out of hand and painted as laughable or inconsequential or full of childlike naivete.

I learned to be someone who downplayed the need for gentleness, and had to unlearn it. Yes, some of that is due to the echoes of a past that grow quieter with each passing year. But, some of that is also because I’ve trained myself to handle failure by being pragmatic to avoid succumbing to my emotions. Then, April happened. I set achievable goals, traveled, painted, wrote, and blew up the internet. What I didn’t (and could not) prepare for, was the toll this situation took on my psyche and general well-being. I did, absolutely, miss a few things and I still feel terrible that happened. I asked myself why I allowed myself to slip up; didn’t I know any better; hadn’t I been through far worse. All the while, pushing myself harder to get back on my feet and into a regular routine.

In the process of cleaning up my proverbial mess, I did three things that were outside of my normal routine: I did not engage in retail therapy, I used my Make Art Not War 2017 time to critique/sub original short stories again, and I started walking regularly again. By doing so, I naturally stopped chiding myself because those small movements represented progress and gave me something to look forward to. Gentleness, in other words, led to another emotion I’m not used to having: hope. Mind you, I couldn’t have picked myself up without knowing there were supportive people out there well beyond the friends and peers I already knew. But, lesson learned. I realized that the ability to fall, to be gentle with yourself after you go through something awful, is not something we’re taught to handle well as artists. It is, however, part of learning how to be resilient. Even so, there’s a certain amount of privilege that comes from knowing and having the ability to fall within a safe space. A lack of safety net or support system dramatically impacts your psyche–especially if there’s financial concerns involved.

When I designed Make Art Not War 2017, I didn’t think about safety nets because I have a small, but stable one and it never occurred to me that it’d be needed. I had been working on rebuilding my local community with varying degrees of success, and I felt anything I could provide would not be helpful since my footprint can’t reach into your backyard. Instead, I focused my efforts on a program that could help empower and motivate you to produce more art despite all the distractions in the world today. Making art does require time, consistency, and persistence, and I was very conscious of that this month.

In the past, I’ve often said that success is something you have to determine for yourself. Now, I realize that some failures are the same way. Sometimes, you have to be the one to figure out what a setback means for your art or your career–because you’re the only one who can determine what happens next. Do you get back on the proverbial horse and make more art? Do you double down when faced with criticism only to later recognize you made a mistake? Do you need to take a quick break to give yourself relief before diving back into the pile? To address the hardest questions of all, I feel that gentleness is required. At the end of the day, you are human and you will fail from time to time. Failure is natural. It’s what you do with that failure that defines you.

Sometimes, to pick yourself back up a little gentleness is what’s needed the most, and I hope that you will never forget that self-care isn’t something to overlook. It’s what I needed this month, and I hope this post serves both as a reminder and inspiration for you to be kind to yourself as well. Be well.

    Mood: Thar be dragons
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: Half as much as the day before, but not nearly enough as today
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Another hour’s worth of walking.
    In My Ears: Dragon Age: Inquisition soundtrack
    Game Last Played: Pokemon GO. Review forthcoming. Post gym. No, not “a” gym, a Pokemon gym.
    Book Last Read: Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson
    Movie/TV Show Last Viewed: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
    Latest Artistic Project: Make Art Not War 2017 Challenge and Rules
    Latest Releases: In Volo’s Wake for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, Unknown Armies Books 1-3, and Kobold Guide to Gamemastering. Read my end-of-the-year list of releases for an overview of what I’ve put out for 2016.
    Current State of Projects: Read my latest project update. New project update coming, uh… when I get caught up.

Discussing Characters and Change in Media/Tie-In

Marvel Thor

This is a post I stopped and started multiple times, because I found myself in that weird space between “I am a fan” and “I am a professional.” I am both, and I am very aware (and sometimes scared) what a critique of say, the Captain America-as-Hydra storyline would do for my career in the future (1). My experiences with media/tie-in have mostly been positive, but I’ve always gotten the sense that the bigger companies/IPs tend to err on the conservative side (2). As such, I feel I fared better because I recognized the business mechanisms in place early on, and learned to mitigate my feelings stemming from business decisions or changes made to a character, story, etc.

As time went on, I learned that working in media/tie-in isn’t the same for everyone. There are a lot of variables, and it’s unique depending upon the people and businesses involved. Occasionally, the sides of the box for a project were so well-defined I had a narrow band to work with; other times, I was given more freedom. Regardless, after a while I learned that my vision of a setting isn’t what’s needed or required at all times. You do have to have a certain amount of selflessness to understand that you’re not working on “your” property, regardless of how much you love, enjoy, or get paid to do the work. Sometimes, you are a talented storyteller or game designer who knows how to work within the confines of a project; at random moments you could be hired because that company wants to see your vision, your take on a beloved character.

That said? Change sucks. Change is hard. And yet, change is all but guaranteed–especially for properties that age or become so popular iterate works are constantly generated. Star Wars, for example, has been around for forty years, and in that time there’s been movies, comic books, novels, graphic novels, short stories, a live action TV show, Christmas special, etc. But, as a fan we all remember our “first” experience with Star Wars and, more importantly, how it made us feel. So, when we intersect with Star Wars again, and Anakin Skywalker’s maturation and eventual fall to the dark side doesn’t generate the same feelings as Darth Vader did in the past, we are upset or disappointed. Maybe we watch Episodes I, II, and III anyway. Maybe we wait until something new comes out (3). But, for a kid? Episodes I, II, and III were their first experience with Star Wars, and for them the feelings those movies generates is just as powerful as ours were back in the day.

I am hugely sympathetic to the challenges companies and creators face with respect to new storylines for this and many other reasons. It is very hard to work on a property that has such devoted fans who expect to engage with a specific kind of story or version of a character. Only, flagship properties often sell because of their iconic nature’s visibility and prominence, and to a certain extent there will be a portion of the fanbase who will always buy those works no matter what. I personally feel there’s more room for change to expand, rather than subtract, audiences because there’s so much to explore to modernize characters, stories, settings and reach hungry readers.

That said, I personally believe that changes can only happen up to a point. That line, that point where it’s no longer welcome… Well, that’s the boundary between “this is a re-imagining of Thor” versus “this is a new character who wields Mjolnir but is no longer Thor”. What we’re talking about here isn’t the difference between iconic (static or unchanging) vs. dynamic characters, but changing an existing character or a setting beyond recognition. Sometimes, those experiments can and do work, and I’m of the mind that Emerald City and Tin Man are both fantastic examples of that. Other times, however, changes don’t work because there’s a decided lack of connecting threads between the reimagining of that character and their former self–other than their name or artistic depiction. That, for me, is when the creative change fails, and that becomes more nuanced and complicated with each passing iteration (4).

My feelings tend to worsen when the character is turned inside out, and the hero is flatly depicted as the villain–the very thing they were fighting tooth and nail against. Switching heroes into villains, and vice versa, affects the story irrevocably. By doing so, the theme and message of that narrative arc is now in conflict with previous iterations as well; that change wouldn’t be something I’d expect to resonate well with fans–especially with respect to iconic characters like Captain American who are rooted in American pride and history. Yes, we’ve had our complicated villains (Magneto) and I’m a big fan of writing in those morally gray spaces for both protagonists and antagonists, but how far can/should you change the essence of an iconic character? The answer, to me, is that sometimes big changes aren’t necessary to tell a powerful story. Sometimes, you don’t need to change much to make a story new. Sometimes, it’s more important to recognize the responsibility that comes from writing a character like Captain America.

Before I get back to writing, I wanted to close by addressing the poor reception of Captain America-as-Hydra storyline. If you are a creator, please know that once your work is published you have no control over its reception. None. I tell that to every writer I hire, and even I need that reminder sometimes. It sucks, but that’s the nature of the beast. And second, I would hope that it’s obvious there are other ways to generate new story arcs that are fresh and new and relevant without changing the character’s essence. I came up with several for Cap, because that was my way of dealing with my frustration, and currently am trying not to spend time writing fanfic. (Twist my arm… Maybe later…) Okay, hear me out. My reimagining is about Loki tricking Cap to leave the Avengers by shunting him into an alternate, seemingly-peaceful universe where he had settled down with Sharon Carter and his three kids–only to find out the peace he enjoys was engineered by Hydra. Unfortunately for Cap, in this reality Hydra is a yet-to-be-discovered force of great evil, and he’s the only one to see them for who they really are. When his kids recite rhetoric reminiscent of Hydra’s b.s., how does he respond? How will Cap deal with the knowledge that he can stop Hydra by going on the offensive? Will he be able to shock an apathetic society into action, and at what cost?

Anyway, given the many many conversations about comics I’ve seen in the past few days, I thought I’d offer some thoughts about changing beloved characters from my creative perspective. ‘Til next time!

(1) Write for Marvel? Of course, I would. Are you kidding me? That said, no I am not a fan of this storyline at all.

(2) Often, I’ve been fed the line that companies want to hire folks who are a fan of their characters/settings, and over time I’ve found that this isn’t necessarily the case. Sometimes, that’s shorthand for: “We don’t want to hire outside of the people we already know.”

(3) The reason why new stories are told within the same universes over and over again is often financially (and sometimes contractually) driven. This is why we have many, many Batman and Spiderman movies.

(4) I think Batman is an exception here because DC has embraced many different iterations of the character, while retaining his essence and complexities.

    Mood: Blah blah vampires blah
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: MANY
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: You know, pretty damn good. An hour’s worth of walking.
    In My Ears: A snoring cat. Oh, will Lord Lardbottom’s trials ever cease?
    Game Last Played: Pokemon GO. Review forthcoming. Post gym. No, not “a” gym, a Pokemon gym.
    Book Last Read: Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson
    Movie/TV Show Last Viewed: The Star Wars trilogy, remastered
    Latest Artistic Project: Make Art Not War 2017 Challenge and Rules
    Latest Releases: In Volo’s Wake for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, Unknown Armies Books 1-3, and Kobold Guide to Gamemastering. Read my end-of-the-year list of releases for an overview of what I’ve put out for 2016.
    Current State of Projects: Read my latest project update. New project update coming this month!

Redder Than Red Vampire Story Excerpt and Notes

“Redder Than Red” is a short story written for a Vampire: the Masquerade anthology called Endless Ages. The story’s protagonist is a Malkavian vampire named Rebecca Fleischer who seeks revenge for the murder of her progeny. Rebecca, like all other Malkavian vampires, suffers from the Curse of Malkav in a unique way. She has a form of arithmomania, and this manifests by her need to count.

I hope you enjoy this excerpt of my story set in the expansive, lush setting for Vampire: The Masquerade.

Redder Than Red

4:24:30 p.m.
Tuesday, 28th of December
Chicago, Illinois

In two minutes and thirty seconds the sun will fall below the horizon. Ten seconds later, I will recite a 24-digit authorization code to open my vault. Then, I will feed until my thirst is sated, and I will finish my preparations. Tonight, I will capture or stake Ayisha Jocastian, my greatest enemy, whom I’ve been hunting for five years, seven months, 13 days, and fifteen hours. I have vowed to hunt no other vampire until she is dead, for she killed my childer, Estaban, and she must pay according to the laws of our kind, the Kindred.

More importantly, she must answer to me.

Holding my body taut, I resist the urge to disarm the safe that keeps me secure during the daylight hours. The vault is comfortable enough; it has zero windows, eighteen ceiling tiles, ten emergency blood bags, six floor tiles, four bookcases (containing sixty-five books arranged by date of publication), two stakes, one bed and—

Ring! Ring! My black phone chirps one, two, three times before I pick up the handle. One of my ghouls, Alyssa, calls it “vintage” because it has a rotary dial and a land line. I do not know how to use a cell phone, and I do not plan to learn. Too many variables I cannot control.

“Hello?” My question carries two meanings. It is a greeting to ask who the caller is, and how they accessed my unlisted number. I press the receiver against my ear, listening carefully. If the caller breathes, they are mortal and could be a spy or a ghoul. If not, vampire.

“Rebecca Fleischer, this is Stephan Ashworth.” Ah, better yet. Vampire and ally. Stephan has many words attached to his name—Alastor, Ventrue, British, WWI veteran, hero—and one we share in common. Kindred. “I am calling you on a secure line as you requested.”

“Yes, good. Hello.” I nod my head once, twice. Stephan is my partner for tonight’s hunt. While I want revenge, Stephan’s interest in Ayisha is purely political. Her capture would net him a prize and the respect of the Camarilla’s highest authority—the Inner Council. Nothing personal, for him. Not like it is for me.

“Did you confirm she’ll be at the warehouse tonight?”

For the past several months, Ayisha has been paying ghouls to print and distribute copies of a forbidden tome called the Book of Nod in exchange for thaumaturgically-sealed vials of her blood. An abomination and waste of vitae. We believe the ghouls are organized and have anticipated that possibility, but we cannot be sure until we get inside the facility tonight.

“Yes, at that warehouse on Belmont and Knox near Cicero. It is on the southeast corner of the intersection. Smells of gasoline and toner. Heavy traffic during rush hour, but dies down after seven p.m. I counted 392 red bricks, three garages, and nine boarded-up windows. Two vents on top of the building. Forty-seven—”

“—the building is made out of brick, you say? That will make our entrance more difficult if my man on the inside fails, but it can be done. Entrances and exits?”

“If the garages are unlocked, five. If not, two. One door to an administrative office, and another via a fire exit in the back.”

“Well your efforts are making my job a lot easier. Have you thought about becoming an Alastor? Being a member of the Camarilla’s secret police is a helluva way to spend your unlife. Beats dancing in clubs and feeding on frat boys.”

“I just want Ayisha.” Stephan, to my knowledge, has never lost a childer. He does not understand the gaping hole in my chest, a pain that I still feel for the loss of my progeny. He cannot comprehend Ayisha’s deep betrayal, either, when she turned her back on her Clan. I do. I want to peel the flesh from all 206 of her bones after I break every one of them in four places. I want to hear her scream so loud the dead will wake from their graves. I want to watch my ghouls bind her to a marble effigy of my childer and record the sight of her burning flesh when the sun rises. I want…

“Well, if you change your mind. When am I picking you up again?”

“I will meet you at nine o’clock outside of the Hilton on Michigan Avenue.” I am not staying at the Hilton, but Stephan does not need to know that. He is my ally, sure, but he is still a vampire and can never be completely trusted. “I will bring the briefcase as we agreed.”

“Good…good… And Rebecca?”


“Thank you.”

Endless Ages is now available now on Each story in this collection tackles the different periods published for Vampire: the Masquerade. Watch for upcoming news about additional platforms!

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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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