My First Quarter 2020 Update

Captain WhinypantsA few months ago, I had planned on sharing a quarterly update with you to highlight news on the proverbial home front. I had no idea I’d be writing this update from quarantine in my office next to a snoring cat. (Not Captain Whinypants. The other one. The orange ball of floofy one.) I don’t want to dwell on COVID-19 related issues other than to say “Yes, I’m affected.” Luckily, no one is sick in my household. Cross all appendages hoping that holds true! At the same time, I know several people who either do have it or lost someone recently. It’s a little surreal summing up the past three months, because I don’t know how the next three will fare. All I can focus on is one day at a time.

With that in mind, here’s a rundown of my year so far. Late December, I started by taking inventory of my 2019 list of publications. I used that exercise to revisit my goals, take stock of what I had, and put together a wish list. I wound up trunking everything I had so I could start fresh. (Zsa Zsa Gabor: “I just hated everything.”) In January, I was also prepping for the Hunter: Vigil Second Edition Kickstarter and had attended Midwinter Gaming Convention for a business meeting. I knew February was going to be busy, because I’d managed and promoted Kickstarters in the past, but I had no idea how swamped I’d be. Most of that month was swallowed up with a lot of news, Kickstarter cheerleading, and new releases. I was thrilled to release Underwater Memories accompanied by a themed soundtrack through Sub-Q Magazine, attend RadCon in Pasco, Washington as a guest of honor, and prepare for the SXSW release of my contributions for Wonder Stories, an app to help kids read.

Following this, I flew to Florida for a Make Art Not War writer’s retreat hosted by Alethea Kontis at the beginning of March. The first week and a half was lovely; we used the time to reset and reconnect. In that first week, I had so much news showing signs of growth and some wonderful experiences–including a SpaceX launch and a writer’s meet-up. Then, COVID-19 hit just a few days later. The launch at SXSW for Wonder Stories was cancelled along with several conferences I’d planned to attend. A spooky anthology I contributed to, called Haunting Shadows, also debuted. On top of this, I fell seriously ill. (Yes, we did check into testing but none was available.) We’re not sure if I had COVID-19 or adenovirus, but we took precautions in any case. During my recovery, I taught an Intro to Game Writing class through the Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers. I also mentioned I’m running for SFWA Director-At-Large as a write-in candidate. My class was lovely and everyone was enthusiastic and talented! (I still feel awful about my voice going in and out, but we made it work!) I didn’t write much, other than morning pages that last stretch of time. I wanted to be well enough to fly home at the beginning of April; there was a solid week or so I don’t remember.

I am now kicking off the second quarter in quarantine at home. Our state’s quarantine is through Friday, April 26th; the national recommendation is April 30th. However, my office quarantine is scheduled until Saturday, April 18th to ensure I’m not presenting any symptoms, especially after flying out of Orlando. I’m also dealing with a few other behind-the-scenes related issues, too, that have popped up because of this crisis. Additionally, I decided to pen a 30-day journal in quarantine for our local historical society. I feel this kind of documentation really matters–especially right now. I’m writing these entries in lieu of morning pages, but also to pay attention to how I’m feeling. I have a few deadlines this month and a lot of spec opportunities to follow up on, both of which should keep me busy.

I wish I could end this quarterly update with a comment about where my career will be by the end of June–but it’s impossible to predict anything. Change and uncertainty are the new “normal”. I jokingly called this era “The Chaos Timeline” before COVID-19 hit. Unfortunately, that description is very apropos of 2020 thus far. I’m still writing, but I’m also proceeding with extra caution–especially since many people I know and love are immunocompromised. To what end? Only time will tell.

Wishing you and yours health, stability, and a lot of luck in this tumultuous time.





Monica Valentinelli is a writer, editor, and game developer. Her portfolio includes stories, games, comics, essays, and pop culture books.

In addition to her own worlds, she has worked on a number of different properties including Firefly, Vampire: the Masquerade, Shadowrun, Hunter: the Vigil, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, and Robert E. Howard’s Conan.

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

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Would you like to hire me? Because my projects and manuscripts are in flux, I am always open to discussing new opportunities with publishers and studios. As a full-time writer, I spend a portion of my time seeking new gigs–so don’t be afraid to reach out. If you’re interested, please e-mail me via my Contact Page. I typically reply to work-related e-mails within one-to-two business days.

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