Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Teaser Tuesday: Point of Origin Excerpt

As usual, the excerpt is also available on ReadWave and Wattpad, but just in case the links don't work for some reason, I'll post it here as well.

You had an excerpt of No Port to Land, the first installment in the Law and Crucible Saga here, and now it's time for a taste of the second installment, Point of Origin. The rest is available on Amazon, for pre-order until December 15 and to buy after that. Enjoy!


Point of Origin


The nurse helped Thea settle in bed for the night. The sheets scratched her skin like sand paper and the saggy mattress did no favors to her spine, but at least she could breathe easier. Sitting up in this gravity took all the strength she had left, sometimes up to the point of making it hard to think. With most distractions gone and her mind left to wander, it was worse in some ways.

She thought about the dead end her life had become, how close she’d come to solving one of the biggest mystery in the known universe, and how naïve she’d been thinking people would have liked to know the truth. Mostly she resented not knowing if she was right. She’d tried solving the equation in her head during the many sleepless nights, but without writing down the steps, she lost track of the calculations after a couple of hours. And she couldn’t write any of it down or talk to anyone. It was too dangerous.

Thea sighed and shifted in bed, wincing when one of the bedsores split on her back. She was fed up with feeling weak, and she hated feeling sorry for herself. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much she could do other than wait. She’d sent the coded message in hopes someone would pick it up and track her down. Six months had passed since they had extracted her from the emergency shuttle, found her body damaged and brought her to the asylum. If it took much longer, she’d be past the recovery point. Everything would be lost. It would be such a shame as she was still young and should have had a full life ahead of her.

If only she could sleep. But if she did, the nightmare would come, the same nightmare she’d had for the past six months. It started with her on board the ship and her colleagues dying. In reality, things had happened at a much slower speed, she’d left before she saw it happen, but they always seemed to skip paces in her dreams, making the deaths more horrifying. Then came the crawling on the endless corridors, struggling to find a way out while her limbs became weaker and weaker. The solution was a no brainer. The ship was compromised and she needed to leave it if she wanted to have the slightest chance of survival. Finding the emergency shuttle and figuring out how to use it had nearly killed her, but slipping into the stasis capsule while not knowing when someone would come for her, if they ever did, had been worse.

Still, against all odds, she had made it this far. How much longer?

Dawn caught Thea staring at the ceiling. There was nothing else to see outside the window other than the gray sky. Little by little, the asylum came to life. She had made it through another night. She should have been relieved, but the various aches made it difficult to care.

And then the nurse came into her room with the dreaded announcement:

“You have a visitor.”


Law ignored the benches and chairs that bordered the asylum yard. All that concrete failed to feel welcoming. Not a spot of green in sight. No wonder the patients didn’t get any better. He could barely breathe in the tight confinement of the high fences, and he was healthy as far as he knew.

A male nurse pushed a wheelchair out through the terrace door. He set the wheelchair by the table and put on the brakes. “Here you go, sweetheart. The fresh air will do you good.” He looked up at Law. “Don’t get mad at her if she doesn’t answer. She’s nearly catatonic.”

“This will be fine, thank you,” Law said, his voice cold and dismissive. She deserved better treatment. Anyone deserved better treatment than that.

The male nurse retreated, leaving him alone with the patient. He’d asked for privacy and he got it. The terrace door remained open though, and the shadows in the hallway told him someone was watching.

The woman in the wheelchair didn’t move. With her elbows propped on the armrests, all her focus seemed to go into keeping herself upright. Her records claimed she was a few years younger than him, but with the dark shadows under her eyes and the gaunt cheeks, it was hard to tell. Black hair fell limply down both sides of her face, probably pretty when washed and styled as it still held some waves where it settled on her chest.

“I’m Captain Law. My ship is waiting in the spaceport,” Law said. “I have a business proposal for you.”

From the pale face, black eyes peered at him.

“My crew and I are planning to haul a whole bunch of ore from an asteroid two systems away. We need a specialist on our team to get the gig. Old regulations and such, but they’re not going to change them for just one trip.”

She arched an eyebrow. Good. She was interested. They were making progress.

“Yes, a geologist would be better, but an astrophysicist will do, too.”

A gleam of irony flashed in her eyes. He’d had to say it to see if she were a good fit for his crew. They were going to be stuck together for a long time.

“I basically only need your accreditations,” he said. “We’ll do all the heavy lifting so you won’t have to move a finger, but the local authorities insist you be physically present so…” Law shrugged. He hadn’t lied so far.

She moved one finger. Such a tiny gesture but so full of meaning. He liked that about her. She was supposed to be smart given her line of work, but it pleased him to discover her brain hadn’t succumbed to the affliction plaguing her. He’d been counting on that.

“Right. Well, I’m afraid we don’t have a doctor on board at the moment, but our medbay is well stocked to keep you comfortable. And…” He paused for effect as if he was really trying to sell her the job. “I’m willing to fly at zero g all the way there. The crew won’t like it, but it’s cheaper than hiring a nurse.” Another shrug.

Something like a chuckle left her lips, and Law allowed himself a little smile.

“It will be like heaven after the gravity crushing you here.” He was tempting her and felt no shame for it. He needed her on the ship, and this wasn’t an offer she could refuse. It was her only ticket out of this damned system. “If there are any problems, our communication officer, who is also a woman, can help.” Mia would strangle him for volunteering her services without asking her first, but he had a feeling the woman sitting in front of him was less weak than she appeared and it wouldn’t come to that.

Come to think of it, he’d been an ass for delivering his pitch standing up and forcing her to crane her neck to look at him. Law pulled a chair and sat down, which brought him closer to her eye level. The arch of her neck changed accordingly. Wonderful.

“So, what do you think?” he asked. “Interested?”

She didn’t answer right away, and when she did, her voice came out raspy as if she hadn’t used it in a while. “What’s in it for me?”

“Half a share of the profit after we restock the fuel.” Law raised a hand. “Only the permanent personnel gets a full share.”

Since she still didn’t answer, he added, “You can use it for nerve replacement therapy.”

A low blow to remind her what was at stake, her survival. Law wasn’t a cruel man, but sometimes a statement needed to be made. She needed to know who was in charge. “I’ll need an answer soon. We’re taking off at noon.”

He stared at her, armed with all the patience in the world, and just when he was thinking she might have exhausted her word quota for the day, the whisper came.


Law leaned over the table and reached for her hand. He held it with the same patience until her cold, stiff fingers closed around his. “There. We have a deal.” He smiled and released her hand. “We’ll come to pick you up in the morning. We’ll deal with the formalities tomorrow.”

He got up, nodded and was on his way. It was only when he reached the metal gate he made the mistake of looking back over his shoulder. Her intense stare cut him to the bone and all the way back to the ship, he had the acute feeling he’d been had.


Thea ran her fingers through her short hair. It had taken her only forty minutes to cut it, and the hair had dried before she finished so she hadn’t had time to style it other than comb it back, but it was done. She would have finished sooner if she hadn’t already been exhausted after washing up and slipping into the standard-issued overalls the crew wore. Despite the fatigue that made her limbs heavy and clumsy, she felt better and was happy to discover she hadn’t completely lost her fine motric skills. Still, cutting her hair at zero g had been more than a little challenging.

Law and a big, blond guy called Eradiez had come to pick her up from the asylum in the morning, wheelchair and all. After signing triple release forms, they had taken her to the ship where it became clear it hadn’t been built with the use of disabled passengers in mind. Her wheelchair became useless as soon as they entered the hatch. So they picked her up and carried her to her designated cabin, strapped her to the couch then they forgot about her, which she was grateful for because they didn’t get to hear her groans and whimpers during the brutal take off. Their pilot was a murderer.

Once enough time had passed for the various new aches to decrease and the nausea to settle down, the pangs of hunger drew Thea out of her cabin. She hadn’t eaten anything all day, and it became more apparent no one was going to play room service for her. Figuring out how to float from handle to handle took a little more coordination than she had at the moment, but it wasn’t impossible. She could do this, though she didn’t see why they wouldn’t put her in a stasis capsule for the duration of the flight. It would certainly be easier for everyone, and they wouldn’t have to worry about her. Assuming they did.

The deserted corridors suggested at least part of the crew had to be in stasis, which wasn’t unusual for the long hauls. Perfect. No one to laugh at her feeble attempts to move without bumping into walls. Finding a rhythm was the key, so she focused on that while looking for a way to the mess hall. At least there were no steps to climb.

Down the third corridor, a woman walked out of a door. Dark brown, short curls floated gently around her tanned face as she turned. “Good. You’re up.” The cold greeting was accompanied by a not entirely dismissive up and down look. “I’m Mia Torres, communication officer. Come in.” She nodded back to the door she’d come out of. “Law wants you in the medbay.”

Without another word, she stalked back, leaving Thea to follow at her own pace.

Thea looked mournfully at the woman’s straight posture and the traction boots that kept her feet connected to the floor. She’d tried the pair found in her room, but the magnetic field was too strong for her to use them successfully and she’d failed to find a way to adjust the field. Maybe one of them could help her with that.

“Sit over there.” Mia pointed at the consultation table. “I’ll do a brief evaluation. It won’t take long.” She pressed a series of buttons on a screen.

With some maneuvering, Thea managed to set herself down on the table and strap her waist in. Several sensors surrounded her and moved around her, beeping faintly. One dared to prick her skin, and Thea winced, taken by surprise.

“I’m not a doctor, but it doesn’t require a degree to check the readings,” Mia said, her hazel eyes glued to the screens. “We have a pretty good medbay here.”

Law had said they did. Thea nodded as the equipment in the room was more advanced than anything she’d seen at the asylum. But then again, one couldn’t compare a private ship to an institution funded by the state that admitted only people who had nowhere else to go. “Do you get to use it often?”

“You have no idea.” A smile threatened to crack Mia’s lips, but a frown quickly replaced it as the results came in. “Your nervous system degeneration is up to 35%. That’s not too bad after six months. It was only 25% at the first evaluation mentioned in your file. It means it’s not aggressive so there’s still time.” Meaning you can do the job here and then get the proper treatment.

Thea forced her jaw to unclench at the time mention. Both Mia and Law talked so carelessly about nerve replacement therapy when that was one thing she couldn’t do even if she were in a system that did such things and she had the funds for it. Luckily, there were other alternative treatments, less invasive, that could keep the degeneration under control. They wouldn’t fix her, but they would slow down the process and perhaps even stop it for a while. It would have to do.

“Your muscle mass is in a much worse state,” Mia said, “but six months in bed would do that to you. We can help with that.” She pursed her lips. “I don’t see anything else that requires immediate attention.” She almost smiled again, probably at the thought she wouldn’t have to babysit her charge too long.

Thea didn’t understand what she’d done to make Mia resent her already, but life was too short to worry about such trivial issues. It wasn’t like they were friends.

“Now, I need your permission to give you these.” Mia came by her side, holding a tray with three syringes lying on it. “This—” she picked up the biggest one, “—is a standard immunization cocktail that should protect you against most things we might come upon out there. Your last immunization was done over a year ago and it didn’t cover everything so it was just about time to do it again. It also includes immunization against a nasty plague part of the crew came in contact with a while back. They’ve all been cleared since, but we don’t want to take any chances.”

Thea nodded, wary of the mention of “things they might come upon.” She’d thought she wouldn’t have to leave the ship for this job, but they could just as well bring something in…

“This one—” Mia held up the medium-size syringe, “—contains steroids for the muscles, and something that might or might not work on your nervous system, but it can’t hurt to try.” She paused and didn’t touch the smallest syringe. “This is a long term contraceptive. Its action can be reversed at any time and there are no lasting effects. Law is adamant for all of us to take it. He claims the ship is too small for kids and the drama that comes with them.” Her voice turned wistful then she shook her head. “Anyway, it’s safer than anything else I’m giving you, but if your religion forbids it or whatever other reasons you might have, you should talk it up with Law. Fair warning though, it won’t be a nice chat.”

She didn’t want a confrontation with the captain so soon into the trip. “No, that’s fine.” She rolled up her sleeve and held out her arm.

“In case you’re wondering, relations aren’t prohibited between the crew members.” Mia swabbed her skin. “But Merrick is mine. And you better talk to Sienna first before approaching Eradiez if you want to keep any of your hair. As for Law … good luck with that!” Her laughter carried a hint of malice.

Sex was the last thing on Thea’s mind despite the boredom of the past few months, but the last remark intrigued her. “You don’t like Law?”

“Of course, I like him. I wouldn’t work with him otherwise.” With him, not for him. “He’s … different. He asks a lot and gives everything in return. Such dedication is compelling, and people usually deliver. It’s why we work so well as a team. But getting involved with him? I can’t imagine doing it without getting consumed in the process.” She picked up the first syringe, shaking her head.

Each shot stung worse than the last, but they were nothing compared to the pins and needles shooting up and down her limbs when she maintained one position for too long.

“All done.” Mia swabbed her arm until no blood came out. “I’ll take you to Law, and then you’re free of me.” This time, she did smile.

So she hated her. Oh, well. Thea released the straps and jumped off the table. Or at least, she tried. The zero g pushed her up, she lost her balance, and she hit her shin against the corner of the table. Cursing under her breath, she flapped her arms and followed Mia out of the medbay. Her legs might be useless, but she was getting a good workout for her upper body.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Broken People Series Cyber Monday Sale & Kindle Countdown Deals

Broken People series is on sale!

On Monday, November 30, you can get all three books in Broken People series,

The Nightingale Circus

Broken People

Broken Hearts

for only $0.99 each on Amazon.

Wait, there's more! After Monday is over,

The Nightingale Circus will stay $0.99 until Sunday

Broken People will stay $0.99 until December 20

Broken Hearts is in the Kindle Countdown Deals program so check it out to see what the price is all through the week until Sunday when the price goes back to $3.99. It's also available for free with Kindle Unlimited until December 20.

Don't miss this rare occasion to get the three books in the Broken People series for only $0.99 each!

And please help spread the word.


2015 November Reading List

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir – This book capitalizes on negative emotions like constant fear and pain. Think The Hunger Games with a little more class, except the heroine is a frightened little girl who never heard of “Girl Power”. I felt no connection to the characters, and the world building while complicated didn’t necessarily make sense. If you’re into violent stuff, better read Red Rising instead. Violence, when written by a guy, hurts less. Further more, the present tense grated on my nerves, too many questions are left unanswered and the books stops in the middle of the action. I checked my copy and there’s no mention of it being part of a series so that was quite a disappointment.  2/5 stars

A Thousand Nights by E. K. Johnston – I got fooled by the cover again. The narrator’s voice didn’t work for me, the story dragged, and the flashbacks and dreams were distracting. But at least it was short. 2/5 stars

Winter by Merissa Meyer – I was prepared to complain about the book being too big when I first opened it, but as there are 4 couples and the main war plot to be solved, it didn’t seem too big in the end. While I still found the combat scenes utterly boring, everything else was wrapped nicely and we got a well-deserved HEA. 4/5 stars

Soundless by Richelle Mead – Rather slow with a lot of telling and it failed to engage my interest, which I found surprising as none of the other of Mead’s books had that effect on me before. And what’s with this YA trend to portray all adults as idiots? 3/5 start

The Clockwork Dagger by Beth Cato – I don’t feel compelled to continue with this series. The romance is mushy, and I didn’t particularly like the heroine and her obsession with the Lady. Whatever god asks for your blood in exchange of favors doesn’t deserve praying to. 3/5 start

Valor’s Choice by Tanya Huff – I’m not much into military sci fi, but I quite enjoyed this one. I especially liked to find intelligent characters in it. And the aliens’ hair rocked, hehe! 4/5 stars

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Breaking the Chains is Free on Amazon

Breaking the Chains is FREE on Nov 25-29 on Amazon.

Angels, demons, and doom. Get it now!

If you read it, please leave a review. It's a short story. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

In which my writing gets critiqued by none other than Mark Lawrence

I don't make a habit out of searching for my name on Facebook, but something made me do it this time, and it's a good thing I did. I would have missed it for another day or so otherwise.

In case you don't know it, in the beginning of November, Mark Lawrence, the author of The Broken Empire and The Red Queen's War trilogies, offered to critique the first page of fantasy novels on his blog, provided writers were brave enough to send them to him.

Now, I do happen to have a fantasy book in the works, but it's the second book in the series, and he specifically said no to that. It wouldn't have worked, not to mention it's an urban fantasy with fairies, so not what he writes. I flirted with the idea of sending him something, but I didn't have anything else written since I tend to work on one project at a time. I told myself I didn't have time for this and chances were slim for him to pick exactly my page to critique out of the +100 pages received. Then last week, before starting on the daily word quota, I opened a blank document and started typing because, you see, on my upcoming work list, there is an epic fantasy novel idea I'm very fond of (not only an idea, about 60% of the plot is already sketched in my plot files) and that will get written hopefully soon.

Since I knew how the novel would start as I usually do, writing 500 words was easy. The difficult part was cutting the excess words and cramming in all the info I wanted to transmit. In the final draft, this opening will be slightly changed and extended to add a few introspective thoughts and set the context, but no more than 100 words or so. I had someone proofread the text (more on this later lol) since Mark's following is way bigger than mine and the text had the potential to be read by plenty of strangers, and then I sent it, not holding my breath for an answer.

I only discovered the critique now, after a random FB search. It started off well, with me laughing out loud at a comment made by Mark regarding a typo that both I and my proofreader missed. This is the best way to start reading a critique. After this, nothing could ruin my mood.

As far as the critique goes, he does have several good points, some things I missed, some I had a feeling they didn't sound right but left them the way they were anyway as I would have needed a longer break and then look at the text with fresh eyes to fix them. It's a well-rounded critique, milder than a lot of the stuff I received on Critique Circle when I had two novels critiqued there, and I found every single line useful. I'm sure his comments will be helpful when I get to write the next draft. 

Plus, I'm not at all against being compared to Diana Wynne Jones. :) I was a little surprised to see his readers express their willingness to read more since the story starts on the light side, so different from Mark's works, but their instincts weren't wrong. While the story starts light, it will get serious soon and even dark in places. My writing is lighter in general, but despite me not being a big horror fan, my readers know I slip into gore a couple of scenes per book more often than not.

The first page of The Hollow Mage and the critique can be read on Mark's blog. I don't know when I'll get to write this novel. First, I need to finish The Strength of a Heart (urban fantasy, so if you came here from Mark's blog, it's probably not for you :P). Next year, I also have to write the last book in Broken People series (do give it a try even if it's not your favorite genre, I'm awfully proud of it :) ), but in between these two, I can squeeze something else. The Hollow Mage, a sci-fi (short) novel, and a YA/NA fantasy novel are in the running for that spot. They're all three on the upcoming writing list, only the order isn't decided yet. Oh, and the cover art for The Hollow Mage is my favorite so far. :)

Thank you, Mark, for taking the time to critique my page! Not only you helped improve my story, but you also made my day. And I promise you there are no vampires in this book. One vampire series was enough for me. :)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

"Dincolo de orizont" at Gaudeamus 2015

It's that time of the year again. Gaudeamus book fair is taking place in Bucharest between November 18-22.

Only one new book has my name on the cover, "Dincolo de orizont. Povestiri science fiction. Volumul 1" (Beyond Horizon), edited by Michael Haulica, and published by Millennium Books.

The official book launch will take place on Saturday at 19:15 at Tritonic stand. As usual, I won't be there, but don't miss a great chance to meet the other writers who contributed to the anthology and get their autograph.

If you missed some of my books, here's a list with titles and publishers. Most of them should be available at Gaudeamus as well, and hey, you might even get some discounts!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Teaser Tuesday: No Port to Land Excerpt

I usually post the excerpts on ReadWave and Wattpad, but ReadWave seems to be down at the moment and Wattpad requires an account so for now I'll post it here and add it there later.

Here you go, the beginning of No Port to Land. The rest is available on Amazon, for pre-order until December 15 and to buy after that. Enjoy!


No Port to Land


Nia slipped out of the nest when the alarm started. Behind her, Gart muttered something. It was too early for him. Lucky for her, Nia could function with little sleep and was intrigued by the reason the alarm had started. It wasn’t an emergency alarm that would have all the ship’s passengers panic, but a simple notice something had happened and those who wanted could go and find out more. She was definitely interested.

She arranged the bandages on her arms before walking out into the main corridor, leaving uncovered as little skin as possible, and blinked under the strong lights. Several people were heading in the same direction, among them Adette, so she joined them.

“What happened?” she asked with half a voice.

“They caught a shuttle,” Adette said and pulled the blonde strands over her ear to hide the gray crusts, her other hand resting on her rounded belly.


“It was sending out an SOS signal while heading straight at us.” Adette smiled widely. “They caught it before it hit us.”

Around them, people commented about the news, but Nia dropped her shoulders. A damaged shuttle was no use. They would never leave this damned ship.

The second disappointment came when she saw the alleged shuttle, more like a rescue module at this size. And the modules rarely had a guidance system, even if they had suffered damages less serious than this. It had been brought onto a platform near the entrance, where mechanics armed with blowtorches struggled to open it. Considering the way they pulled on it, chances were it would never fly again. Given the life expectancy of the passengers, it was better for them to be dead.

The crowd gathered around staring, exchanging the latest gossip in whispered voices. Cherevic stood under the walkway with his partner in crime and threw dark glares from a distance. More mouths to feed. Farther afield, Sarezez’s head rose above the crowd, his tall silhouette surpassing most. Nia hid behind Adette, avoiding the man’s dumb smile. She didn’t feel like dealing with him.

Papa Ote’s ticking cane announced his arrival several seconds before he set foot on the walkway. The cane’s blows itched like hell, and her childhood memories made Nia’s ears instinctively prick despite having not received one in a long time.

The old man paused at the edge of the walkway and supervised all the action from above. His lips tightly pressed together showed he had no illusions either, but his lively eyes missed nothing.

With a screech that pierced their ears, the mechanics managed to open the shuttle’s door.  Three bodies tumbled out, their faces cyanotic because of the lack of oxygen. Nia narrowed her eyes, but she was too far away to see if they were still breathing.

“They’re alive!” one of the rescuers shouted. “And armed.”

There’s one more inside,” said another voice.

When they pulled out the last one, a big, heavy man, he was still batting an arm. They took their weapons and laid them on the floor where doctor Hossek leaned over them.

Four men and all in their prime. The initial irritation was replaced by concern. What if they all survived? At the last board meeting, they had announced there was only enough food supplies left for two more people above the existing head count, and as the ship deteriorated, the food supplies decreased quicker than the population.

“Take them to the sickbay and see if we can recover anything,” Papa Ote said.

“The big one is mine.” Adette elbowed her gently.

Nia shook her head. Gart’s nest was better than any amusement the new arrivals could provide. She turned her back on them and left the deck, tormented by dark thoughts.


The hours she waited for the commotion caused by the shuttle’s arrival to calm down passed terribly slowly. Nia busied herself in all corners where she normally had no business being in under the pretext of collecting orders, to test the waters. How did people feel about the event? How many would have preferred to get rid of the intruders immediately? And who already had hopes to leave with the shuttle? All these variables were risks that affected her plans.

Slowly but surely, she advanced towards the sickbay. When Doctor Hossek left the room for a moment, Nia slipped inside and closed the door behind her. One of the strangers was already standing, black hair falling down his bowed forehead while he fastened his pants. At his right, the blond giant whom Adette liked leaned against the wall still unused to the gravity on board the ship. On the left, the third man was sitting on the bed and kept running his fingers through his short brown beard. The fourth man was lying in bed at the end of the room, hooked up to the machines and still unconscious.

“More tests?” the bearded man said.

“No, I’m looking for the doctor,” Nia lied.

“He went to lunch,” the man in the middle said, finishing dressing.

Nia hesitated in the doorway. Alone in a room with four strangers where three could attack her at any time didn’t seem like a good idea, even if they hadn’t had time to recover fully and the knife she carried could have defended her somewhat.

“Won’t you go as well?” she asked.

If she could convince them to leave the sickbay, the patient would be left alone and then ... A lot could happen because of the old equipment.

“The doctor gave us some vitamins and advised us to wait,” the same interlocutor said. “But I would like to take a look at our shuttle. Is that possible?”

It wasn’t clear if he was asking for permission, but neither had they been locked in sickbay. And if they didn’t mind the throng of people dressed in rags and covered in festering sores, who was she to comment on their tastes?

“Sure.” She nodded. “It’s three levels below.”

“That far?” the bearded man said.

“We didn’t build the ship.” Nia shrugged.

“Will you show us the way?” the other man asked with an affable smile.

Nia looked from one man to another, hiding her calculations under a cautious expression.

“Are you the boss?” She focused her attention on the man who appeared to be the group’s leader. She didn’t like that smile. Too open and honest, the way it shouldn’t be.

“Captain Law.” He held out his hand.

“Better not.” Nia raised her arms to show her bandages.

“Ah ... yes ... better not risk it,” Law said and lowered his hand, but didn’t take a step back. “Merrick is coming with me—” he nodded toward the bearded man, “—but Eradiez stays here. Svenegald hasn’t woken up yet.”

Without the colossus, it was better. But did he leave him behind to guard the other?

“Follow me.”

On the way to the door, she glanced discreetly at the quarantine bay. The LEDs on the doorknob showed it was locked.


The cargo hold was devoid of people. The absence of any guards transformed Nia’s fears into reality. Why guard a wreck? Their mechanics were not the most skilled in the universe, but they had checked the shuttle and their conclusions must have not been encouraging. Only Jet snooped around the damaged hull, not daring to enter.

Seeing them, the boy lowered his head between his shoulders, to hide his face. A gray crust covered half of it, decorated with dried blood on the margins, where he hadn’t resisted the urge to scratch.

Nia followed the men’s reactions with interest as this was their first contact with the symptoms of the plague that affected them all. Merrick looked at him with undisguised curiosity.

“Thank you for guarding our shuttle,” Law said without blinking.

Jet made an attempt to straighten his back, ready to take all the credit for it, but then he shook his head. “I guarded nothing. They broke it before I got here.”

The men exchanged a glance.

“Did they ruin everything?” Law asked.

“They broke it into pieces,” Jet said. “But it was already broken, so they said.”

Nia took a step closer, ready to grab him by the shoulder. The kid was talking too much.

“Let’s see if there’s anything left in one piece.” Law signaled Merrick to enter.

“Where are you coming from?” Jet asked.

“From a ship...” Law looked around. “…smaller than this one.”

Nia hardly refrained to give him an ironic look. Really? It would have been difficult to find a bigger one. The Pacific was a cruise ship, once equipped to carry thousands of passengers. Nia recalled the last trip, when it still had a crew, and these strangers didn’t resemble its members at all.

“What happened?” Jet asked. “Why did you leave it?”

“Technical failure,” Law said and climbed the steps leading to the entrance. “Do you want to take a look inside?” he asked from the doorway.

“May I?” Jet squeaked and slipped past him before he could answer.

Law followed him with an amused smile. Nia remained outside, all kinds of horror scenarios passing through her head. Prisoner in the cabin along with two strangers and a child who could be used for blackmail? No way. She had fought too hard to let her guard down just now.

She took a step closer, however, paying attention to the conversation inside.

“How bad is it?” came Law’s muffled voice.

“They cleaned out everything they could take,” Merrick said.

The grumble that followed didn’t say much. What did they expect? When you were forced to survive in a closed environment, you recycled everything. It was surprising they hadn’t stripped away the floorboards as well—they could certainly be used for something. But they didn’t seem utterly resentful. Or maybe they had seen enough on the way from the sickbay to realize what trouble they had entered.

“Can you fix it?” Law asked.

“Partially. I can replace the missing parts with what we find here,” Merrick said. “The worst part is the last blast perforated the hull and affected the conversion system. That’s why we ran out of oxygen. That one I can’t fix with what we have on board.”

“We’ll ask them if they can help. It’s a big ship. There must be something appropriate around…”

They still hoped to leave with the shuttle. Nia thoughtfully ran her fingers on the burned surface of the hull. There had been no technical failure; someone had shot at them. And that someone could still be after them. Therefore, they were in a hurry to leave quickly. That suited her. She just needed to secure a ticket with them, and she knew how to do it.

The problem was she needed two tickets.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Efectul de nautil Giveaway

Here's another giveaway for you!

Go to Goodreads to win a signed paperback copy of "Efectul de nautil", my Romanian debut book, which includes 20 sci fi and fantasy short stories published in online magazines between 2008 and 2013, a couple of stories that won awards, and a few new ones that aren't available anywhere else.

The giveaway will be open until December 15 to all Romanian residents and, hopefully, the book will make it to the lucky winner in time for Christmas. Once again, this is my last printed copy and since it might take a while until I get more, you'll be lucky to have it.

Good luck!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Efectul de nautil by Ioana Visan

Efectul de nautil

by Ioana Visan

Giveaway ends December 15, 2015.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Monday, November 9, 2015

Sign up for Law and Crucible Saga Release Day Blitz

With the Law and Crucible saga available for pre-order and about to be released on December 15, it's time to start some buzz about it. If you have a book blog and enjoy space opera, please fill in this form to host a promo post on your blog on release day. If you want to review it as well, that's even better!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Support Law and Crucible Saga Thunderclap Campaign

If you missed the cover reveals this week, know that three installments of the Law and Crucible saga will be released on December 15. The stories are already available for pre-order here.

I don't know how excited you are about it, but I know I am. The first steps was done, the stories are ready and uploaded, so the next goal is to spread the word. If you have a Facebook, Twitter, and/or Tumblr account, please support the Law and Crucible saga Thunderclap campaign. With one click, you'll have an announcement posted to your timeline on December 15 to let you friends and followers know that the saga is out. The mandatory number of supporters for the campaign to go live is 100, but there's no upper limit so the more the better.

Thank you!

P.S. The campaign has reached 100 supporters this morning before I got to publish this post, but you can still join!