Announcing Raven and Toad Studio

Raven and Toad Studio | An Etsy Store

Hello everyone!

Today, I am pleased to mention that I have opened up an Etsy store called Raven and Toad Studio. My plans for this store, including commissions, have been delayed due to COVID-19, so to start I am focusing on digital downloads for beadweaving patterns where I don’t have to ship you anything directly. I will have more uploaded soon! Most of my patterns will require knowledge of the basic stitch, but I’ll keep you posted as the store develops.

This is an example of a pattern you can purchase for a peyote-stitched beaded ring:

Pot of Gold Ring

To start, I have some fun patterns. My philosophy is that you should be able to find adjustments regardless of your measurements. I do scale bigger for my patterns and include instructions to size up and down. There’s a few more elaborate designs I’m working on, too, that I think you’ll really enjoy. Exciting!

Clarion Write-a-Thon: Week 3 The Fine Greenbird

A short progress report this week!

I recently watched The Alienist and that series touches upon some of the issues I mentioned previously with respect to the historical treatment of Italian-Americans. (We’re now watching Doom Patrol. It’s VERY different!) Also: I miss sitting at a coffee shop to write. I stumbled across Coffitivity.com which gives me the benefit of “sounding” like I’m sitting there. Huzzah! I’m also slowly taking Italian again, and that’s been super fun.

Yep, it’s Thursday and I’m still noodling over how I want to retell “Liombruno.” It’s a traditional fairy tale that has two components to present a hero who’s worthy of being saved. My gut is telling me to “get weird” and I’m cuing off of the region’s mountains, forests, and streams. I could imagine a villager telling this story while gesturing to a grand palace atop the mountains.

I picked a new short story for week three. It’s called: “The Fine Greenbird” and it’s from Florenza, the capital of the Tuscany region in central Italy. This is a folktale with a strong theme of jealousy; it also resonates with the number three: three sisters, three offspring, three quests, and three judged. One aspect that stood out to me was the outdated belief that women have control over our bodies to determine the sex of a child. Mind you, the children are characters themselves, so I’ll have to mull over how I want to tackle this harmful and antiquated notion after retelling “Liombruno.”

Other Clarion Write-A-Thon Posts

About this Post: In exchange for sponsor support, I promised to highlight how I’m processing my identity as an Italian-American and daughter of an immigrant through brainstorming, story selection, and first drafts. If you’re keen on following my progress, warts and all, I encourage you to become my sponsor and sign up for my newsletter.

Clarion Write-A-Thon Week 2: Draft Done! On to Liombruno

Dear readers,

I finished a first draft of my “Caterina the Wise” retelling for the Clarion Write-A-Thon. This week, I randomly selected a story called “Liombruno” from Basilicata. My Italian geography is not very good, so I researched the city and learned its geography is really cool. It is a southern Italian region in the lower middle part of the boot, and has over 140 rock-cut churches, mountains, and forests.

I hadn’t heard this story before, so I did a little bit of research. I did find an article snippet on Encyclopedia Brittanica (it’s buried behind a paywall so I can’t share it, unfortunately), but it was cited as exemplary of a popular folk style combining irony and common sense.

The story is about a fisherman who pledges his firstborn son, Liombruno, to the Evil One on his thirteenth birthday. Following this, Liombruno refuses to serve the Evil One and proves his worth. He is then rescued by a shapeshifting fairy named Fata Aquilina, who takes pity on Liombruno and showers him with riches. Missing his parents, Liombruno begs to go home and is given a magical ruby–an icon of her power–to call upon her magic. Only, the fairy warned Liombruno not to expose her for who she truly was. Which, after a time, he did.

The ending of the tale drips with forgiveness. She is dying from grief because she lost Liombruno and he betrayed her. When he reappears, he doesn’t not apologize. She pretty much forgave him and then went back to living happily ever after.

Hmmmm… This’ll be interesting to tackle. The heart of the story is really about the couple’s relationship, but at the same time any repentance story I’d write would absolutely have an apology in it. I’m just not sure repentance is the theme I want to lean into, because that feels off to me. I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

‘Til next time!

Other Clarion Write-A-Thon Posts

About this Post: In exchange for sponsor support, I promised to highlight how I’m processing my identity as an Italian-American and daughter of an immigrant through brainstorming, story selection, and first drafts. If you’re keen on following my progress, warts and all, I encourage you to become my sponsor and sign up for my newsletter.




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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