Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Devil You Know Series is Free for a Limited Time!


On August 24-28, you can download for free from Amazon the two short stories in The Devil You Know series:

Breaking the Chains

The Night Between Heaven and Hell

Feel free to spread the word and leave a review if you read them!

Monday, August 1, 2016

The Nightingale Circus and Law and Crucible Saga News


If you're looking for a summer read or an introduction to Broken People series, The Nightingale Circus can be downloaded for free until August 9 from instafreebie.


August is the last month you can read Law and Crucible Saga for free on Kindle Unlimited

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Nominate "Razbunarea lui Tepes" for Wattys Awards

If you have a Twitter account, today you can nominate "Razbunarea lui Tepes" for Wattys Awards by tweeting:

Nominalizez Razbunarea lui Tepes https://www.wattpad.com/story/75800853-r%C4%83zbunarea-lui-%C8%9Bepe%C8%99-romanian #MyWattysChoice

Monday, July 25, 2016

Last week - Smashwords Summer Sale

Last week - Smashwords Summer Sale - 12 titles 50% off and more!
https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ioanavisan
Click on each title to see the discount.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

A mini-site for my Romanian readers

My site is getting crowded with all the titles I've published in the recent years, and so does my blog. I also think the visitors feel a bit lost because of the mix of Romanian and English titles. Since the main site is in English and I don't have time to translate the whole thing, I quickly threw something together:

https://ioanavisan.wordpress.com

This wordpress site is focused on my Romanian books and it's in Romanian because my Romanian readers deserve to have all the information in one place and this way they can easily find me and my books.

The official website remains the best place to go for all the details though, and the blog remains the same.


Monday, July 4, 2016

Short story in Aphelion: That Damned Toothbrush...

Exactly eight years and four days ago, I was celebrating my debut as a writer when my first short story was published in a magazine. It's been a long road since; I've learned a few things and, hopefully, preserved my humor and positive view over the world intact.

Today, I'm happy to announce that my short story That Damned Toothbrush... was published in July issue of Aphelion webzine. This should please my English-speaking readers, especially those who have expressed their interest in reading my Romanian stories. The Romanian version of this story was included in my short story collection Efectul de nautil (Millennium Books, 2013).

Go here to read about an atypical guest and have a few laughs. While you're at it, check out the rest of the issue, too. There's some good stuff in there.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Me Before You – Or what happens when material things are more important than character growth

Warning: This post contains spoilers for Me Before You movie (based on the book by Jojo Moyes) and quite a bit of a rant regarding the way disabled characters are used as plot devices.

Normally, I’m not interested in pure romance or sick stories, but this movie caused enough controversy online to make me curious … so I watched it, fully prepared to hate it. Well, I didn’t, but at the end of the movie, it just left me sad and it wasn’t particularly because one of the main characters had died.

But let’s start from the beginning. First, there’s Louisa, a quirky, awkward, bubbly, chatty, and not very bright young girl. Just look at the idiot she’s been dating for seven years. In fact, my opinion of her was set when she declared she was only interested in clothes. She has a peculiar fashion style mostly meant to give the movie some color, and part of me kept wondering how she could afford all those clothes when she had so much trouble with finding and keeping a job. She’s also very chatty once she gets going, so I totally agreed with Will when he asked her to shut up. I would have gone further than that and put it in the contract before hiring her, but that’s just me. The thing is, she’s not a bad person. She’s just simple, uneducated, and without aspirations. And we’re supposed to root for her? Forgive me, but I’d get bored after only five minutes of socializing with her. There’s nothing for me to learn from her or intellectually stimulating conversation to be had, and since I’m straight, her pretty doll face and nice figure wouldn’t keep me entertained for long. She has, however, one redeeming quality: she is kind and has a big heart. Unfortunately, even that gets ruined when she fails to save Will.

Will who? I don’t know, I still wonder who he is. He used to work in banking so we’ll assume a certain degree of intelligence, he’s decent looking, and his family is awfully rich. They own a castle for God’s sake! Quite the fairytale setting, except Prince Charming doesn’t come on a white horse. He comes in a wheelchair because he’s suffered a spinal-cord injury two years back and he’s a quadriplegic now. He’s also quite an ass. Here comes Louisa to the rescue to tame the beast. Well, not quite. He mops the floor with her repeatedly, and she has no say on the matter because she really needs this job. This could have turned into a cute romantic comedy, but the writer wanted more … I’m not sure what. As it turns out, Will has his mind set on assisted suicide and only agreed to postpone it six months as a favor to his parents.

From this point forward, the whole movie is a trainwreck. Louisa’s attempts to show him life is still worth living are useless, and he never changes his mind. No, even love can’t save this flick. So what do we learn from it? It’s perfectly okay for severely disabled people to attempt assisted suicide because life in a wheelchair sucks so much it’s not worth living. Will tells us that (what we see is a whole different story, but we’re supposed to be dumb and believe him anyway). And if a handsome, smart, rich guy like Will chooses it, what are disable people living on welfare, who might not even have a professional health care assistant or an electrical wheelchair, supposed to do? What is there left for them to hope for? From this perspective, Mrs. Moyes let down an entire community, and they’re quite vocal about it. So bravo to them!

My issue with Mrs. Moyes, who also wrote the screenplay, is more craft related. It really bothers me when in the name of diversity, some minority (whether is a person of color, LBGT, or a disabled character) appears in the story only to be used as a plot device. Because that’s what Will is. He’s not a fully-fledged character, we know close to nothing about him, he’s just the placeholder for the idea of a disabled character with a few shiny trinkets and nothing more. He’s so unimportant he wasn’t even given a character arch. Will never changes other than becoming a little more polite. He starts with one set of ideas and ends the same way because his writer never cared enough to make him ... more.

No one notices how he stares out the window all day long instead of doing something when he could do basically anything, given his wealth, even living in a tropical paradise with Louisa for the rest of his life. No one comments on his mental health. No one brings him a specialist to help him overcome the severe depression he’s obviously suffering. No, they accept it because if Will wants something, it’s his right to have it. And we should accept it along with them and be contented a disabled character was strong enough to get what he wanted, regardless of what that was, and move on.

Because this isn’t Will’s story. He was never good enough for Louisa, his only purpose was to leave her the fortune she so badly needed and make the audience cry. No, this is Louisa’s story. And she does have a character arch. She evolves from living in a crowded attic to buying expensive perfume in Paris. Because that’s everything all girls should ever want. How cool is that?

P.S. Wouldn’t it have been nice to see Will ride off into the sunset with Khaleesi astride his wheelchair? But for this to happen, someone needs to be brave and care for the characters more than for shiny things. Too bad it wasn’t the case.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Smashwords Summer Sale



All my books are discounted on Smashwords in July so don't miss them!

Human Instincts - 50% Off
Blue Moon Cafe Series: Where Shifters Meet for Drinks - Free
The Impaler's Revenge - 50% Off
Sweet Surrender - Free
A Victory that Counts - 50% Off
Casualties of War - Free
Order Restored - 50% Off
The Third Wheel - Free
The Impaler Legacy Omnibus - 25% Off
The Nightingale Circus - 50% Off
Broken People - 50% Off
Broken Hearts - 50% Off

Or just go to my Smashwords page and click on each book to see the discount.

Enjoy your summer!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

2016 June Reading List

Hot in Hellcat Canyon by Julie Ann Long – Every red blooded woman has dreamed at least once about meeting a movie star, and this makes the story a bit of a cliché. I think I’ll stick to Long’s historical romance novels, those are more fun. 3/5 stars

My Cat is a Hypocrite by Helene Lassarre – I can’t decide whether this book was aimed at kids or adults. For adults, it could have been funnier. As for kids, I fear they’ll miss some of the irony and sarcasm. A funny little book, though I’ve never seen my cat playing with green beans. 3/5 stars

The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead – Lovely cover. Unfortunately, this book is billed as fantasy while it’s not, and it doesn’t work well as historical romance either. Add to this an MC who is supposed to be intelligent and well educated but makes the most stupid and irrational decisions ever and it becomes a terribly frustrating read. 2/5 stars

Company Town by Madeline Ashby - I'm the type of reader who doesn't mind when an otherwise unlucky character gets everything he or she has ever wanted and more at the end of the book. I didn’t care much for the serial killer subplot because it took too long to make sense, but other than that it’s a recommended read. 4/5 stars

Tinerete fara batranete (Youth without Old Age) by Marian Coman & all comic books, issues 1-6 – An interesting sci fi interpretation of the old Romanian myth/fairytale. With some minor exceptions, the illustrations looked great. The dialogue felt clunky in places, but maybe it’s the comic book style and I’m just not used to it. 4/5 stars

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor – One of the best covers from last year. A bit simplistic and slow. I tried to listen to the audiobook, but it was dragging too much so I had to get the ebook instead. 3/5 stars

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraigth – I would have been happier without the gory parts. The novel is strong enough to stand on its own without the shock factor. And Robin must be competing for the longest engagement in the history record, three 500+ pages books and counting. 4/5 stars

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab – I’ve loved all three books I’ve read by Ms. Schwab so far, however this one didn’t live up to my expectations. Too much teenage angst, whining, and gore while we find out little about the secondary characters besides their names and the worldbuilding isn’t explained enough to fully make sense. 3/5 stars

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Wattys 2016 Awards and What to Read for Free


The Wattys 2016 awards are on, that is the awards given by the Wattpad.com writing community, and I have two stories entered. One is Broken People, which was serialized last winter on the site. It's still there so yes, you can read the full novel for free. I hope you'll find The Nightingale Circus' world just as fascinating as I do.

The other story is Razbunarea lui Tepes. This is the Romanian edition of The Impaler's Revenge. I'm serializing it right now as I'm going through the final draft of the translation, and it will compete in the WattysRo category. By the way, The Impaler's Revenge is still available to read for free on Wattpad.

With so many stories from all over the world entered in the competition, the goal here is not to win in one of the categories but to gain exposure. So if you read my stories already, please help spread the word. If you haven't, read them, comment, vote, and then spread the word. :) Thanks!