[My Guest Design Essay] Dystopia and Cybernetic Birds at Apex

Apexology: Science Fiction and Fantasy CoverToday I popped in to Apex Book Company and talked about my new story entitled “Tailfeather,” which was written for Apexology: Science Fiction & Fantasy. As I was writing the story, several themes emerged between the paragraphs.

When I sat down to write Tailfeather I did not craft the tale with these themes in mind. I imagined a place where there are so many people the food has to be rationed. I pictured a world where some societies have split in two, where half their population operates at night and the other half during the day. I thought about what people — women, especially — would to do survive. What would they be willing to do for food? Shelter? Love? — SOURCE: Dystopia and Cybernetic Birds in TAILFEATHER for Apexology

I hope you will do we the honor of giving the essay a read. If you’re interested in the anthology, it’s only $2.99 in digital and contains several stories.

[My Guest Post] Difference Between Marketing and Selling Your Books

This month at the How To Write Shop, I talk about the difference between marketing and selling your books. I got the idea for this post after my discussions at WisCon, because a lot of authors are starting to take on more of a retailer role than a marketing one. Internet retail is a whole ‘nother ball of wax, and I feel that it’s good to make the decision whether or not that’s something you want to do.

Here’s a quote from the article:

I look at marketing as a way to build awareness of yourself and your work. Sales, on the other hand, is focused on the exchange of money for goods and services. Although they often go hand-in-hand, they’re two different things. Saying “buy my book” isn’t a marketing technique; it’s the hard sell. Telling your readers what your book is about, on the other hand, falls under that marketing umbrella. –SOURCE: Difference between Marketing and Selling your Books at the How To Write Shop

Hop on over there and give it a read. While you’re on the site, be sure to check out other articles, too. There are several new contributors and they are broadening the scope of the site. If you’re even remotely interested in becoming a professional author or want to relate to those who are circumnavigating the upheaval in the industry, check it out.

[My Guest Post] Dig Deeper to Find a Heroic Heart

Today, over at the Rogue Blades Entertainment website, I’m talking about the nature of a true hero and heroine in Dig Deeper to Find a Heroic Heart. Take a look:

When I’m writing a heroic character, the physical aptitude and appearance of a hero or heroine isn’t as important as what shortcomings that character must overcome. When I’m designing the world and their backstory, I look at limitations within physical, mental, social or emotional spheres. By going about it this way, I am not painting my character into an artistic corner. I’m not saying, “Well, my heroine can’t possibly do X because she isn’t shaped like X” right off the bat. I have more freedom and more flexibility to work with the character than I would if I focused on gender or simple concepts like “super strong” or “invisible.” Sure, a character can be super-strong, but that’s not enough to sustain a story. Why are they strong? How does that power affect their self-worth? Their relationship with other people? Their role in society? — SOURCE: Dig Deeper to Find a Heroic Heart at Home of Heroics

Within that article, you’ll find my thoughts on why I think it’s silly to obsess over the physical aspects of a character, and why I believe we can have more unique heroes and heroines that don’t fit into the traditional mold.

My Guest Post: Grammar in Your Alien Language

For November, I got the chance to dig into my How to Create an Alien Language series again over at the Apex Book Company blog. This month, I talked about developing the grammar for your alien language and offered a suggestion for a simple exercise.

Take a look:

To streamline the rules for your alien language’s grammar, I recommend using your names as an anchor. From there, figure out what you don’t want to use. For example, does your alien language have prepositions? Articles like “a,” “an,” or “the?” What about adverbs? Without any modifiers, your grammatical structure can be easier to write because you’re taking out some of the elements that can make grammar pretty complicated. By doing so, you’ll also minimize the need for punctuation or contractions. The minute you throw a comma into the mix, for example, you’ll probably wonder what the rules for comma usage are. Again, here the trick is to limit yourself to what you will and won’t do rather than what you could do. For right now, you’ll be better off focusing on the fundamentals of your grammar rules rather than getting distracted by dangling participles or prepositional phrases. — SOURCE: How to Create an Alien Language: Grammar Fundamentals

Based on the success of this series, I’ll probably write a few more articles about grammar before I wind things down. There are so many different directions to go in that I know I’m not quite done yet. To read the rest of the article, be sure to hop on over to Apex Book Company and check out ,em>How to Create an Alien Language: Grammar Fundamentals.

I’d also like to take a moment to mention that Jason Sizemore, Apex Book Company’s editor-in-chief, is looking for a blog editor and a slush wrangler. Both are volunteer positions at the present moment, but Jason is a savvy guy who knows exactly what he needs. If you’re looking to get your foot-in-the-door with a growing small press publisher, this is the way to do it.


My Guest Article at Innsmouth Free Press

Hi everyone,

Thought you’d be interested to find out that I wrote an article about the appeal of Cthulhu in gaming for Innsmouth Free Press, a Lovecraft-inspired webzine. Written with the casual gamer in mind, I list some horror games that I enjoy and talk about why the Cthulhu mythos is a great backdrop for a horror game.

For hobby gamers, the idea of losing your sanity while investigating the things that go bump in the world of Lovecraft has a strong appeal because it gives the characters a very tangible cost to uncovering the truth. — SOURCE: Cthulhu In Your Game at Innsmouth Free Press

If you’re interesting in gaming, I hope you drop by to read my article entitled Cthulhu In Your Game at Innsmouth Free Press.

Also, I’d like to mention that as part of our FlamesRising.com Cthulhu Week promotion, the publisher at Innsmouth Free press wrote a guest article for us entitled Cthulhu Week: A Note from the Editor at Innsmouth Free Press. Be sure to read this informative article written by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and find out more about their upcoming anthology.

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Monica Valentinelli >

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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