Sunday, December 8, 2013

The No Smoking Report

All in all it's gone pretty well. I have had some bouts of sudden grumpiness but I feel like it hasn't been THAT bad really. I don't think about it that much which was one of the major things I was most worried about but again, it's not that bad.

For those that don't know, I'm "Vaping" which is using an electronic device that has flavored nicotine infused water and glycerin that you breath much like a regular cigarette but without the tar and the other 2134135135 additives that cause cancer. Also, you can pretty much puff on this anywhere and there is no smell. Yay I don't stink anymore! So yes, I'm still in-taking nicotine but I feel like it's way better than smoking tobacco. Hey, and it's way cheaper.

It's been eight days since my last real smoke and I feel like this is totally doable. I'm still getting used to the vapor thingy. It's much stronger and really I would prefer a juice that's a better flavor than what I have but that requires a new tank, some extra time at the vapor store trying flavors and of course a new bottle of juice. Currently I'm puffing on "Triple Berry" from the Two Peas In A Pod juice company and it's ok but it sort of tastes like Red Bull which is kind of harsh and not that great in my opinion. But it's something I can live with for the moment.

I would absolutely recommend this as a way to quit smoking. It really works!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


I'm currently working on three projects right now, the steampunk RPG, Thomas Riley 3 and Tribes. It's kind of crazy to be doing this but right now I write which story calls to me at the moment. Speaking of Thomas Riley 3, I've been collecting a playlist for months now. These are songs that fit the mood of the third book and wow it's dark. This will give you the tone for book three. Here's a few songs from the list if you're interested:
Old Jacket - Regina Spektor
To Die Among Strangers - Rome
Six Pairs of Feet and One Pair of Legs - Julie Christmas
Friend of the Night - Mogwai
Moya -Godspeed You Black Emperor
Witchhunter - Zao
High Lonesome - Caspian

I'm not sure this counts as play exactly but somehow our Christmas shopping for the kids is almost done! That's amazing. Really. Then again, Christmas is only like three weeks away. Yikes.

Wow, The Walking Dead is such a great show. I have to say I'm bummed we have to wait until February 9th to see what happens next. Same with Castle... What is up with cutting shows off mid-season, right when the holidays are almost here? I guess viewership goes down during these months but, man... I hate it when they interrupt my stories. In the meantime, I'm quite enjoying Dracula and Sleepy Hollow.

At this moment, I have now gone  over 36 hours without a real cigarette... This is the first time this has happened in a long time... like since I was eighteen... I got a fancy e-cig that looks like a lightsaber and it works but nothing totally gets rid of the full need for a smoke, especially with all my history with tobacco. So I sit here right now, a bit jittery, nervous and on edge waiting for my body to stop yelling at me as if it will happen in a few moments. The feeling is akin to being underwater and running out of air knowing that a fresh breath is just above the surface but you never quite get there. You're just suspended there, floating with that annoying feeling waiting for it to go away to you can break the surface. While that sounds pretty daunting, I feel determined, I may list but I won't sink.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

I was going to post this a few days ago but I got caught up in Steamcon V and somehow didn't have any time. I saw on Twitter that Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books did a review on Thomas Riley and The Maelstrom and what a sweet one it is!

I won't post the review here so you can discover the awesomeness of Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books yourself so here are a few movie-esque teasers:

"told in fantastic great detail"


"high octane action"


"it will have you gripped to the airships steering wheel on a straight course to the deadly perils ahead." 

Pretty awesome, eh?!
Check out this and a bunch of other awesomeness at Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books HERE.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Steamcon V

It's been a while since we've been to a big event so it was super nice to be able to be panelists, and vendors at the magnificent Steamcon V. We had some great panels and as usual, met some really great people and caught up with old friends as well. This year we took the kids for two days and I think they had a great time. It was really their first time at a full blown con and they were excited to be at a steampunk themed one. Kaya was extra excited about meeting Abney Park's Captain Robert as well as collecting passport stamps and ribbons.

We had a table in Artist Alley and we had the pleasure of having J. Cunningham and Gearhearts Steam-punk Glamor Revue Magazine as our neighbors. The entire Con was a huge success and every aspect of the three day event ran absolutely seamlessly. Big kudos to everyone putting it on, it was such a great time!

It was super great to see Kevin (Airship Ambassador), Diana, Martin, and fans that came out to see us and buy books. We love you! Also, big thank yous to awesome authors and panelist friends, J.R. Boyette, Jonathon Burgess, and Lisa Mantchev. You all rock!

We're very excited for next year! Hope to see you all there.

Now for pictures!

Lizzie and I at the table

Lizzie wants  steampunk shoes in the vendor room
Kaya with Captain Robert
Lizzie autographing fan's jacket
Me signing a fan's jacket
Lizzie at her reading for Reclaiming The Throne
The kids in costume
Tea samples in the vendor room
Lizzie's reading on the screen

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Steamcon Itinerary

Steamcon is the premier steampunk con on this side of the country. It's a great time for all and offers a huge variety of things to do . The best bands, great panels and unique events unlike any other con. This year Liz and I are honored to be guests and vendors at Steamcon V. Running Oct. 25-27, we will be in Artist Alley with our books. You'll be able to get your copy signed and this will be the first time you can get Thomas Riley and The Maelstrom and Her Majesty's Mysterious Conveyance signed in person!

Also, be sure to get your passport book stamped at our table.

We're very excited to be on panels this year and we'd love to see new and old friends, so come say hi! Here's our schedule:


Friday: 6PM-7PM What makes a novel Steampunk? Regency
Our authors will debate if there is a prescribed list of requirements that go into a steampunk novel.
J.R. Boyett, Nick Valentino, Elizabeth Valentino

Saturday 11AM-Noon Becoming a Writer Regency
A rather opinionated overview, we will examine beginning steps, unions, podcasts, writers groups, guilds, 'Writers minimums' & challenges.
Johnathan Burgess, J.R. Boyett, Nick Valentino


Friday: 6PM-7PM What makes a novel Steampunk? Regency
Our authors will debate if there is a prescribed list of requirements that go into a steampunk novel.
J.R. Boyett, Nick Valentino, Elizabeth Valentino

Friday 5PM-5:30PM Reading: Reclaiming the Throne Regency
In an era when steam rules the sea and skies, the monarchy struggles to maintain control. Sophia has one immediate goal; eliminate the treat to the throne...
Elizabeth Valentino

Sunday: 1PM From Page to Shelf Regency B
Learn what is involved in the publication process.
Linn Prentis, Elizabeth Valentino, Lisa Mantchev

We look forward to seeing you all!
For tickets, rooms, and lots of info check out:

Friday, October 4, 2013

Sausage Fest

As funny as it sounds, a few weeks ago, Lizzie and I went to Sausage Fest! No, not that kind of sausage fest. This one was put on by the fine folks at the Red Hook Brewery at the actual brewery in Woodinville, WA. Mainly, it was Beer, Brats and Bands. Triple B!

The Red Hook Brewery is such a cool place. It consists of two enormous main buildings that look like Bavarian palaces on a finely landscaped property in the middle of Washington State wine country.

The food was shockingly good and consisted of authentic Bratwursts and sausages with a twist. I had the chorizo Brat and Lizzie had the French Onion Brat both of which were amazing. I haven't had brats that good since attending Oktober Fest in Munich. They also had a special hemp beer which yes, smelled like hemp without the effects. There were also a multitude of bands that played a big professional outdoor stage but I was mainly interested in Lizzie's company, beer, and food.

Although we only stayed for a few hours, it was a great time and I'd go back in a heartbeat. Maybe next year we'll get there in time for the tap room to be open.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Steamcon Bound!

After quite some time away from the con/event circuit, Lizzie and I are going to be at Steamcon V this year signing books and having a blast! We have a table in artist alley and will have a bunch of new and old titles for sale. In addition to the two Dreams of Steam anthologies I'm in, we'll have Her Majesty's Mysterious Conveyance in which both Liz and I have stories in as well as the re-issue of the first Thomas Riley book and the brand spanking new Thomas Riley and The Maelstrom! We're also taking part in the Steamcon Passport shenanigans so stop by our table to get your passport stamped for Libertania! So, if you're in the Northwest or want to fly up for an amazing time, check out the Steamcon website here: There's still time to get rooms for the discounted rate!

We're very excited to see our steampunk friends again if you get a chance, pop by our booth and say hi!

Random notes:
The steampunk RPG game is coming along nicely. We've been working on a variety of famous airships, gangs and next famous criminals!

For my hockey friends, the Predators open the season in St. Louis tonight! Go Preds!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Promised Sands Kickstarter

It's no secret at this point that Liz and I are working on the story book for an RPG game being made for the Harsh Realities game company. This particular game won't be out until 2014 but in the meantime, (Ok, I just had to stop writing and go listen to Helmet) I think it's about time to give a signal boost to their current project, an amazing RPG game called "Promised Sands" which I may have a very small part in as well. Part of that requires a touch more funding though. They've done a sweet job getting over $3000 in funding but need more for some really cool stretch goals. So if you like top notch RPG games, take a peek at the Kickstarter for Promised Sands... Gamers beware, once you get into this, you'll totally be hooked.

Just working with these guys gives me a profound respect for the intricate detail and passionate care that goes into Harsh Realities games. Seriously, it's literally like stepping into a new amazing world where everything is viewed in gaming high definition.

See the Kickstarter here:

Like Harsh Realities Facebook page here:

Check out the Harsh Realities website:

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Forks Washington

I have no shame in my game. Two years ago, we took our oldest daughter to Forks Washington because she loves all things Twilight... I mean really loves all things Twilight. Now honestly, I was never a fan myself, but her pure love for it reminds me of my love for all things Star Wars... So her excitement is infectious and fun. Before the whole Twilight craze totally dies, we wanted to take her and the rest of the kids to the place where it all takes place one more time, Forks Washington. I mean who am I to tell her what to like and not like, if she likes it, then I'm going to support her happiness.

For all the hype that surrounds the town, it's a tiny place with a few hotels, one primary road, a few diners and a smattering of essential shops. But packed in this three thousand person town is a myriad of tourist destinations made famous by the books and movies. For those in the know, there's the Swan's house, The police station, the high school (sign), the hospital, Bella's workplace, and the Native American Indian reservation of  La Push, to name a few.

We went with all three kids, Liz's sister, Jen, her daughter Autumn, and her son, Noah. Oh and we brought Luna. So everything was crazy, all the time. But you know, for all the craziness that went on, it was a great time and no one had any issues or problems... it was somehow a pretty stress free trip (yes with five kids and a puppy) and we had a wonderful time seeing the cheesy landmarks, shopping for the last hold outs of Twilight souvenirs, and eating at the places that were either in the movie or had Twilight themed food. (I will say that the Bella Burger and Twilight punch at Sully's is the best thing to eat in town.)

So in short, our trip went like this: We arrived on Friday around dinner time, we ate at the diner where Bella and Charlie ate in the first movie, Liz and I went to the Grocery/Hardware store where Bella apparently worked to get some snacks and beer. The next day was Twilight mania day. We visited and  took pictures at Bella's truck at the Chamber of Commerce, visited Dr. Carlile's parking spot at the hospital, back to both of Bella's apparent workplaces, the high school, the last two remaining Twilight-esque stores, the police station, the "Cullen's house" (which is a B&B) lunch at Sully's Burgers, then to First Beach in La Push where Jacob is from. We spent some time at the beach then went to the "treaty line" where we had dinner. By Sunday, we were pretty worn out but went to Port Angeles to have lunch where Bella and Edward had their first date but sadly it was only open for dinner, so we went to the apparent bookstore where Bella got vampire books and had lunch at a surprisingly pretty good spot called Smuggler's Landing. A whirlwind of a mini-vacation but a great time had by all. And we have pictures to prove it!
The Grown Ups in front of Bella's Truck

Luna Running on First Beach at La Push
The kids at Dr. Cullen's parking spot at the hospital. Noah is doing his own thing.
Lizzie, Luna and I at First Beach
At the "Treaty Line"
The kids at Bella's truck
There are two hardware stores in Forks. Both claim that Bella worked there... This one had her vest, so naturally, Kaya posed for a picture.

Trystan at First Beach in La Push.
The view at first beach. I think it looks like a scene from The Goonies.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


We are big time animal lovers at our house and giving our Siberian Husky, Skye, to another family was heartbreaking. At the same time I know she has a better life full of long hikes with outdoorsy people in the Washington wilderness.

Lizzie and I went on the search for a dog that would be a better fit for our family. We looked at a multitude of dogs and did a lot of research on behaviors and breeds. Among the types we checked out Havanese, French Bulldogs, Pugs, Poodle mixes, Yorkys, and Pomeranians seemed to be the best for us.

After visiting a multitude of shelters and pet fairs, out of the blue we came across a female runt in a litter of "Porkys" (Pomeranian/Yorky) and we absolutely fell in love. Upon seeing her picture, we both knew she was the one.

An amazing 9 week old puppy, we snatched her up and named her "Luna" after Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter. She's a typical puppy, full of energy, tiny play growls, naps and pure unbridled love. Being that she probably won't get over ten pounds, she's manageable and eternally cute.

Meet Luna

Friday, August 9, 2013

12 Awesome Logos

Like everyone else in the world, my entire life I've been surrounded by advertisements. My dad has been a successful professional graphic designer for decades, doing work for The Oak Ridge Boys, Bridgestone, and Kyzen Chemicals to name a very few. Ever since I can remember, typograpghy and creative advertisements were pretty much a part of my daily life.

I dabbled in following the family business but I seemed to have more passion for other creative things like music, stencil art and writing, but I never lost the love I had for cool eye catching logos. Since I moved to Washington, I've been taking pictures of logos and such that I think are pretty impressive. You'll see I have a love for a certain style and for some reason, I love animals on my logos... can't explain it, just do. They look regal to me, royal and important if you will. Also, I tend to gravitate toward a dark look and alcohol labels... that last one's a given I guess. And I just love the stencil aesthetic which you see a lot of in the logo's I like.

I'll continue to take pictures of logos and labels as I find them but here are the top 12 for now.

I love dark designs. I've been drinking Avery Brewing company's White Rascal for years but I must say whomever is doing their label is killer. It's sinister yet beautiful and darn it, now I want one! I rarely see cans of this stuff, but I found this at the local "Harbor Greens" market in Gig Harbor.

My picture is poor but this beautiful design is a beer label fashioned for the amazing HBO show, Game of Thrones. The Iron Throne Blonde Ale was pretty good but I couldn't help appreciating the complex and old world gold and red and black design. Hmmm, is the "Iron Throne BLONDE Ale" a spoiler alert? Go Khaleesi!

Ok, I'm from the South, so I love BBQ. I have no idea if this stuff is any good but the label is cool. It's also very stencil-esque so that speaks to me too. It's a bold design which translates that the sauce if bold as well. Well, that's what they're going for I guess.

This one's a bit simple, but I dig the 2D stencil-ish demon head... see another theme? I mean who wouldn't be excited to get a box in the mail with Diablo printed on the side? Even if it were saw blades.

I've never had Sheep Dip before but the name is a huge turnoff. How can anyone make it cool and inviting? Put an angry woodcut of a devilish sheep on your label, that's how! I'm a fan of anything that hearkens to antiquity and I can almost see running across this in an Edwardian era pub. Even though it probably isn't, the design makes me think it's old, with a recipe that's been handed down and hand crafted through the ages. Let's give the ole' Sheep Dip a try.

This is not that unusual, but I like the turkey and you just can't help noticing the shiny gold and black package. At 100 calories a bag, I've heard this stuff is amazing. Eye catching... check.

I'll admit, I used to be a hard cider hater, and I'm still a beer guy at heart but I've learned to appreciate a good hard cider and well, besides having a cool fantasy/Lord of The Rings looking design, Angry Orchard makes good stuff. The colors are impressive and pop right off the can. It's like a painting, how can you not want to try it?

How can a mouse trap be cool? Just stick an ultra cute mouse inside the V on your logo, that's how. I seriously want a shirt with their logo. I'd rock that around town like it was the latest Prada design.

I have not had this brand of cider yet but the Rhino is awesome! So is the typography in my opinion. It says it bold and dry and traditional without reading a word. Pretty cool and of course the angry stencil Rhino is awesome. Yeah, I'd rock this as a shirt too.

This is a little different for me, but it caught my eye. It's the old style that I like. Come on, it looks like a dog biscuits recipe from your crazy great great grandmother that used to hand make dog treats for strays on the farm. That has to be quality stuff right?I want to get these for Luna. (More on her soon)

I'm a sucker for labels and well, anything that has edition numbers on it. I guess it comes from my love of limited art and toys. It also doesn't hurt that it's kind of a dark design and it has an old school demon guy on it beckoning you to jump in head first.

Now this is just bad ass. The negative space armored Spartan is brilliant and it instantly relays the message that this is a strong, determined, tough company that's not afraid to get their hands dirty... or spend a little money on a great logo. Also, it says a lot about a company like a "Sewer and Drain Cleaning Equipment company" to make themselves look good... I mean who would expect such a weird company to be so forward and proud? Kudos guys! If I had any need for Sewer and Drain Cleaning equipment, you'd be the first I'd call.

So that wraps up my logos for now. I'm sure I'll make a new post semi-soon as I come across some eye massaging logos and designs.