Saturday, June 30, 2012

Human Instincts FREE Today Only!

As a small gesture of appreciation for my readers who've been along with me for the ride for a long time, today only, Human Instincts can be downloaded for free from Smashwords, using the coupon JU77N.

Read it, review it, rate it, and share it with your friends. I'm looking forward to your comments.

Have a nice Sunday, everyone!

Friday, June 29, 2012

2012 June Reading List

Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein – First impression was that the title was misleading. Then, the main character is not someone meant to draw you in. Third, it must have been a weak year when this book won the Hugo. This being said, and since it’s a rather short book, it was enjoyable enough not to be a total waste of time. 3/5 stars

Farmer in the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein – I gave up after reading half of it. YA is no fun without a little bit of romance, and for a YA it has too much technical details that only serve to make the plot drag. Honestly, after reading Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy, this was such a bore. 2/5 stars

Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie – I remember I wasn't too impressed with the first book from the First Law trilogy. It was too bloody and the story too disjointed for my taste. So I was reluctant to continue with the second book. Until I started reading it. I must say it makes a huge difference if you read it in English! The story flows so much better, I almost didn't mind the gore and the mud. :) The only problem I had was remembering who everyone was. Glokta is a star! 4/5 stars

Caliban's War by James S. A. Corey – My impressions are the same as for the first book in the Expanse series. I'm so glad the second book didn't disappoint even if it rehashed some of the previous plot. By far one of the most enjoyable reads in a long time. 4/5 stars

The Last Argument of the Kings by Joe Abercrombie – After all the excitement brought by book 2 of The First Law trilogy, this was a bit of a let down. Two thirds of the book were mostly about fighting and the battle scenes were incredibly long, so long that I found myself leafing through the book which I rarely do. Plus, two kings were pulled out of nowhere and Jazal was back to being annoying more often than not. Abercrombie saved face with me by giving Glokta a happy ending, I didn't think he'd dare, but other than that there wasn't much to be thrilled about. 4/5 stars

Redshirts by John Scalzi – It took me about four chapters to figure out the story doesn't take itself seriously and neither should I. After that, it became a light and reasonably enjoyable read. Half way in, it occurred to me that it was getting too long and this would work much better as a novella. There's way too much chatting, almost zero introspection, and not enough description. By the end, I still had no idea how these characters looked like. They're like faceless cardboard figures, anyone could have said those lines. I never thought I'd complain about too much dialog and lack of description. *facepalm* It seems to me that Scalzi didn't really know how to end this story. He cut it short abruptly and then went on adding three codas the book could have easily gone without. They don't add much to the main story and they feel disjointed because of the chosen narrative voice and writing style. As a whole, it felt like the writer had more fan writing it than the average reader would have reading it. I get it that Scalzi can afford to make experiments, but he better not do it on my time. Compared to Fuzzy Nation, Redshirt was a big disappointment. 3/5 stars

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Story: That Damn Toothbrush

The last story for this summer is available in June issue of Gazeta SF:

Periuţa, bat-o vina…

I have way too many on going projects to focus on writing for the web at the moment, but maybe in the fall there'll be more stuff for you to read.

Until then, enjoy your summer. God, I need a vacation!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Top 10 Q & A on I Read Indie

Thanks to Mandy for allowing me to participate in her Top 10 Q & A on her I Read Indie blog.

Human Instincts is available on Amazon, Smashwords and other online stores. Find the links in the right side bar.

eBook: Evolution 2

It's official, my story "Beneath the Skin" has been included in Evolution 2 anthology edited by Lane Diamond & D.T. Conklin and coming out from Evolved Publishing on August 15.

So far, the following stories are part of Evolution 2, with four more stories waiting to be announced:

The Drying – Voss Foster
Beneath the Skin – Ioana Visan
En Plein Air – Erin Ryan
Sixteen Down – Brian Panowich
Walk Knock – Conda V. Douglas
The Million Dollar Club – David Ballard

Evolved Publishing's announcement can be found here.

Human Instincts featured on Indies Unlimited

Human Instincts is featured on Indies Unlimited.

Human Instincts apocalyptic novella is available on Amazon (US, UK, FR, DE, IT, ES) and Smashwords.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Human Instincts featured on Dark Wolf's Fantasy Reviews

Human Instincts is featured on Dark Wolf's Fantasy Reviews blog.

Thank you, Mihai!

Human Instincts apocalyptic novella is available on Amazon (US, UK, FR, DE, IT, ES) and Smashwords.

Friday, June 15, 2012

eBook: Human Instincts

or adventures in self-publishing world.

After a long process of translating and editing, my apocalyptic novella "Human Instincts" is finally available as an eBook on Amazon and Smashwords (see links at the right).

To be honest, I have no idea what I'm doing so I decided to start small and go from there. Amazon has already screwed up the price and listed it as $5.74 instead of $2.99. Until that's fixed, I'm recommending Smashwords.

The synopsis goes something like this:

Dr. Deanna Nichols is a geneticist searching for a cure to save the world. After the war nearly destroyed it by releasing an aggressive virus, it was the vaccine that killed the humanity’s chances for progress and survival. Deanna feels guilty because she has participated in creating the vaccine, and General Mackenzie never lets her forget that.

Their luck changes when they are contacted by the convicts held in a secret military prison hidden in the arctic desert. The C deviance criminals are willing to negotiate and provide unaffected DNA samples in exchange for supplies and a visit paid by the doctor herself. Suddenly there’s hope, so Deanna embarks on a dangerous journey to a grittier reality than she had expected.

Could a woman alone save the world?

Yes, I discovered I'm not good at writing synopses. *shrug*

You can read a sample here.

And since it's time to do some promotion, I have five copies available for review provided you promise to post them on Amazon, Goodreads, Shelfari, Smashwords or your blog. Either comment or e-mail me if you're interested.

Later edit: Website updated to feature the new release.

Later later edit: I figured out what the deal with the Amazon price is: apparently it depends on your location. I still think Smashwords is a better deal.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Steampunk Review on Ora de Timis

It's been over a year since Steampunk has been published, and people are still reading and reviewing it. We must have done something right! :) Read LuciaT's review here.

"Steampunk: A doua revolutie" is available on and on the publisher's website.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Interview in Evenimentul

Many thanks to Stefana Czeller for interviewing me for Evenimentul. Read the result here.
*rushing off to get the print edition*

Later edit: Mission failed. Mom bought them all. LOL

Monday, June 4, 2012

Palas - Iasi

After over two years of choking with dust and cursing the investors for ruining our city, Iasi has a new downtown. The official opening was on Friday, at the beginning of a four day long weekend. Luckily I missed it, but since then I’ve visited it three times, twice during the day and once at night to get a full impression of the place. Half of the works are not finished in the surrounding area and about a quarter of the palace is still undergoing repair work (no surprise there since this is Romania we’re talking about), but what’s done looks almost decent.

Let’s take it from the top. There’s again pavement on the alleys in front of the palace (I never thought I’d live to see the day!). Except for the main tower, the front façade is mostly done and while I can’t call it “the gray castle” anymore, once you get used to the new look it looks fine. The pavement leading to the Luceafarul Theatre has also been replaced. I hated the old one with a passion so this makes me very happy. Unfortunately, it’s already cracking in places and it’s only been four days. Still waiting for the second fountain to be rebuilt, but it’s nice to see some patches of grass even if I don’t care for the brown leaves trees. The esplanade could use more benches and the brown box in the middle of it has got to go (it has no business doing there and it’s ruining the view), but other than this I’m happy with it.

Moving on. The next stop is the Palas Mall. Well, it’s big. It has a big opening in the middle fit for all kind of events (way to loud, though!). I still haven’t figured out the geography of the place, and we had to take three elevators to get to the ground floor, so something isn’t quite right there, and the staff is too new to be of any help yet. Regarding the stores, I only saw them from outside (I didn’t have the patience to check every one of them) and I wasn’t impressed. They look like something put together in a hurry and with no much thought given to the style. The one clothe store I entered, C & A, left me quite disappointed with the quality of the clothes. As for prices in general, I kept thinking “I could buy this many books instead.”

But let’s move to the stores that really matter. No, I haven’t checked the jewelry stores yet. I’m talking about the bookstores. Yes! So, there’s a Carturesti on the top floor. It seems bigger than the one in Iulius Mall, but it doesn’t have more books and they’re arranged a bit at random. Maybe they’ll get better organized in time. I couldn’t help it and bought something before walking out. Nemira is on the middle floor. It’s not a store, it’s a stand so I almost missed it. They have a 2+1 promotion and 35% discount for students (little brother better make it into college!), but dunno how long this will last. Librarium is on the ground floor, reasonably sized, well lit, and with high shelves. If I hadn’t had an eReader I would have probably ended up buying some English books. There’s supposed to be a Litera store too, but I haven’t seen it.

Okay, out again. I won’t stop at the supermarket, it’s just food so not interesting (I can’t wait for mom to send dad to get bred from there in the evening, teehee!) Let’s move to the park. Yes, that big park they promised us. The truth is that it’s rather small, crowded in between the surrounding buildings. Four alleys, a lake, two fountains, one tent, two gazebos, a merry-go-round and an open space meant to become skating rink in the winter (it’s not a joke, I’m afraid. European ice rink my foot!). That’s about all, plus the restaurants and cafes on the sides, and don’t get me started on the stairs leading up to the palace. They’re the ugliest thing I have ever seen, especially the railings!

For now, the place was crowded by people of all ages, curious to see the newest world wonder. Hopefully, the curiosity will wear down in a couple of days/weeks and it will become less crowded. I don’t think we’re getting rid of the kids, though. Sigh. I do hope the security will become tighter and they will prevent people from stepping on the grass or that place doesn’t stand a chance. I also hope people get better manners and stop leaving litter behind. Well, yes, I’m a sci fi writer, that’s what I do.

In conclusion, it’s better than the mud and dirty water that used to be there, but it also could have been much better. If only people hadn’t been greedy and erected less buildings on the area that should have been the park. The way it is now, it’s too small for a downtown, given the size of our city. On the other hand, I’ve seen the original blueprints and if dad hadn’t had a word to say in it I don’t want to imagine how it would have ended up looking like. I’m not that much of a good write.

So Palas is open and it’s here to stay. I’ve been told it looks better at night with the lights on. I don’t know, when I saw it on Sunday the number of lights had been already reduced. Well, it’s Romania, we do everything by half if we can get away with it. It doesn’t look like the mentality will change too soon. Until then, see you at the Palas. If it’s sunny outside you might find me there. Or not.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Story: Deal of the Century

This one is from 2009 so I don't quite remember where the inspiration came from.

It proves that a critique group can be a big help because it saved the ending from being a total snooze.

Read it here:
Afacerea secolului