Sunday, March 31, 2013

2013 March Reading List

The Black Company by Glen Cook – It took me about half of the book to really get into it, and it still wasn’t my cup of tea. It read too much like a bad video game from the 90s. 3/5 stars 

The Wheel of Time 1: The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan – To summarize it all: run, hide, camp, run, sing, juggle, spend the night in an inn, fight, run… repeat again and again for all 700+ pages. Meh. 4/5 stars 

Efectul de nautil (The Nautilus Effect) by Ioana Visan – Yes, I had to read my own book over the weekend to make sure everything was in order before sending it to be printed. I was quite happy with the result if you ask me! :D 

The United States of McSweeney's (the version published by Nemira so not sure exactly what’s the English edition) – Strange. I don’t know what I was expecting but, while most of the stories are well-written, I didn’t quite care for any of them. 3/5 stars 

The Prefect by Alastair Reynolds – A bit cold and distant, but the plot was quite well done. 4/5 stars 

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare – The constant change of POV was nauseating, the avalanche of letters, quotes, and songs was annoying, and I hated the ending. Quite a frustrating book, but at least the series has ended, thank God for that! 3/5 stars 

Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson – I gave up on it after reading over a quarter of the book. There’s no way of telling the characters apart, no background, only battle and scheming, and even that not done well. Pah!

I think I'm done with fantasy series for a while. I've started (as in read the first book or at least tried to) like six series since last fall, and the only one I fully enjoyed was the Mistborn. I'm ready for some sci fi now!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Story: "O familie de sclipicioşi"

My story "O familie de sclipicioşi" (A Sparkling Family) can be read in the 30th issue of  Helion Online (March-April 2013). This story won the 2nd place at the Helion 2012 writing contest, and considering that the first place was not awarded and who the competition was, I'm quite happy with the result.

It's also included in my short story collection "Efectul de nautil" (The Nautilus Effect). If you like printed books, you can order it here.

Update: I just noticed now on the front page of Helion Online that the story was scheduled for the March 22 session of Helion Club. I'm not sure exactly what this mean. Did they read it, discussed it or what? Can someone who was there enlighten me?

Evolution: Vol. 2 on Sale

This weekend, March 30-31, you can buy Evolution: Vol. 2 for only $0.99 on Amazon. It includes my short story "Beneath the Skin".

Evolved Publishing put a whole bunch of books on sale so check the full listing here. You might find something else you like.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Argos, no. 1, April 2013

The first issue of Argos magazine is available as an ebook on

It includes my story "Un zambet de milioane" (A Smile Worth Millions) that won the AtelierKult contest last year, so don't miss it.

It only costs 4.99 RON.

And it's already in top 3 of best sold digital books, yay!

"Efectul de nautil" and "Zombii. Cartea mortilor vii" Book Launch

Well, I wasn't there, but people kept telling me that the book launch went very well, and now we have proofs too.

Here are photos from "Efectul de nautil" book launch and photos from Final Frontier book fair in general courtesy of Assassin CG.

And here are videos from the launch courtesy of the same Assassin: part 1 and part 2.

The speakers were Horia Ursu from Millennium Books and Mircea Naidin. I thank them both for the nice presentation.

Lessons to be learned for upcoming writers: 1) make sure to have a well-organized website so people can find information about you; 2) be careful what you say in the interviews because you never know when you will be quoted next. :)

The launch of "Zombii. Cartea mortilor vii" took place during the same panel, right after my launch, and we have videos from that too: part 1 and part 2.

The speakers were Mircea Pricajan (the editor of the book) and Mihai Adascalitei from Dark Wolf's Fantasy Reviews.

One small correction I have to make as they discussed at some point how many of the authors are from Transylvania. I just happen to be born in Moldavia and live here, but my dad is from Vallachia and my mom is from Transylvania where I spent a big part of my childhood, so I consider myself to be Transylvanian. :)

As far as I am concerned, Assassin is the star of the day because he filmed the whole thing!

Now that we've had the book launch(es), the book(s) should be in the stores soon. If you can't wait, you can order them here.

Update: Catalin Badea-Gheracostea talks about Final Frontier and "Efectul de nautil" in his article from Observator cultural.

2nd update: And here is an article about the event on Galileo Online.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Final Frontier Update

Due to health issues, I won't be able to attend Final Frontier book fair in Bucharest this weekend, and I'll miss my own book launch. Boo-hoo!!

For those of you who considered going in hope of getting my autograph, fear not, I have a little something prepared and sent ahead so make sure to stop by the Millennium Books' stand and check the merchandize. And if you're there buy a book or two as they promise nice discounts.

What books to get? I'm happy to suggest mine and the anthologies that include my stories.

From Millennium Books:
  • "Efectul de nautil" by Ioana Visan
  • "Zombii: Cartea mortilor vii" edited by Mircea Pricajan 
  • "Cele 1001 de scorneli ale Mosului SF" edited by Stefan Ghidoveanu
  • "Steampunk: A doua revolutie" edited by Adrian Craciun
  • "Dansand pe Marte si alte povestiri fantastice" edited by Michael Haulica

From Nemira:
  • "Calatorii in timp. Antologie de povestiri SF" edited by Antuza Genescu
    (on their site, the book's status is still set to pre-order, but who knows maybe it will be there)

If you can't make it to Final Frontier, the books can be ordered on-line here and here, and the discounts still apply! 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

About "Efectul de nautil"

My Romanian short story collection “Efectul de nautil” (The Nautilus Effect) has been in the making for over four years… only that I didn’t know it. When I was interviewed by SRSFF after winning the Cititor SF Award 2009 for my debut story “Inghetul” (Freeze), I was asked about my plans for the future. I remember answering something about maybe a short story collection, and also that I was in no hurry. The first statement was a lie, I had absolutely no plans for a short story collection because I didn’t feel ready to publish anything at the time, but you know, I had to say something. The second statement was true, though, as I was indeed in no hurry.

So here we are four years later, and I have a book about to hit the shelves and waiting to be launched. To be honest, I don’t feel like I have much merit in making it happen. I mean even if no one read or enjoyed my stories, I would still be writing, but apparently people do, enough to keep an eye on my doings. Imagine my surprise when last year around Easter I received an e-mail from Michael Haulica, asking me if I didn’t want to gather my stories in a book. My first reaction was ‘no way, I have not nearly enough material for a book!’ But then I took a look at my files and realized he was right. I did have enough stories to make a book. Incidentally, 350 pages is the ideal length for a book as far as I am concerned, but of course I had no idea how long it would be when I put the stories together.

Over the past few years, I frequently published stories in several on-line magazines and a few anthologies too. The stories already available in print were not included in the selection, and some of the other stories didn’t make the cut because I wanted to have some new material too. In the end, I settled for twenty titles, five of which were new. Among them you’ll find Cititor SF Award 2009 winner “Inghetul” (Freeze), AtelierKult 2010 contest second place winner “Din lipsa de Timp” (In Lack of Time), AtelierKult 2012 contest winner “Un zambet de milioane” (A Millions Worth Smile), and Helion 2012 contest second place winner “O familie de sclipiciosi” (A Sparkling Family).

The book is a mixture of sci fi and fantasy with a bit of action, horror, comedy and romance thrown in between. My favorite story? It’s a tossup between “La distanta de un lift” (An Elevator Apart), “Camuflaj” (Camouflage) and “Navigand prin ceata” (Navigating through Fog). And why “Efectul de nautil” (The Nautilus Effect)? Well, first because it has a nice ring to it (the story itself is supposed to be my answer to Neil Gaiman’s Stardust as it features my own glowing girl in a completely different setting), and second, because it hints at my literary debut in Nautilus Magazine. And it looks cool on the cover!

Of course, none of these would have been possible if Mr. Haulica hadn’t been responsible with my on-line debut in Nautilus, then my debut in print in the second AtelierKult anthology, and now my debut with my own book. So a lot of the credit goes to him for believing in me and paying attention when I wasn’t.

And Horia Ursu deserves a gold star for putting up with all of my questions and nit-picking during the process of making the book. Oh, and for publishing it too, of course! 

So add Efectul de nautil to your to-read list on GoodReads, pre-order it here, read it and let me know what you think of it!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

About "Calatorii in timp"

Time travel. A fascinating subject. And also a little frustrating because everyone seems to agree that no matter what you do you can’t change the past. So why bother? But let’s start from the beginning…

I had known about the SRSFF’s time travel anthology project since the announcement had been made public, and I had it marked on my schedule to write for it. This happened sometime in the spring, but only in July I got to start on it. I was coming after a couple of months of hard work on several other writing project, including my own story collection “Efectul de nautil” (The Nautilus Effect), and I was in the mood for writing something different.

It was summer, hot, little brother was out of school and had gotten into the college he wanted, and we were already making vacation plans. As it happens, in the beginning of the year I had read a few books with the  action taking place in Barcelona, and that had made me nostalgic for that place, several places in the city really, since our vacation there had been a short one. So I pulled out my vacation photos and made a list with the places I would like to revisit. From that point on, it was like solving a puzzle and figuring out where my characters should go next.

Now my readers know that description isn’t my strongest point when it comes to writing, so this story isn’t really about Barcelona. I’ll leave that to Carlos Ruiz Zafon and other Spanish writers who can and did do it much better than I could. No, this is an adventure story with a chaotic timeline like all of the best time travel stories should be. However, you can use this story as a tourist guide if you happen to be in Barcelona, and you lost yours. Send me pictures if you do! :)

All in all, it was a fun writing process. The publishing was delayed for some reason, and instead of hitting the shelves in 2012, it only does now. But, and it’s a big but, “Calatorii in timp. Antologie de povestiri SF” (Time Travels. Anthology of Sci Fi Stories) is now published by Nemira, and if you’re from the same generation as me and grew up reading Nemira books then you know how this feel.

Until you can get your hands on the book and read “Punct de rendez-vous la cota +3000” (Rendez-vous Point at +3000), I’ll leave you with an incentive, shots of the places you will get to see.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

About “Zombii: Cartea mortilor vii”

Here is the story behind “Noapte buna, Mihai!” (Good Night, Mihai!), my story included in “Zombii: Cartea mortilor vii” (Zombies: The Book of the Living Dead), edited by Mircea Pricajean, and published by Millennium Books in March 2013.

After going through the steampunk anthology experience, I was quite anxious to see what the next Millennium Books' project would be. And then, the announcement was made I kind of deflated… Zombies? Really? But they’re dumb and filthy. And I don’t write stupid characters and don’t do horror. It looked like I would have to pass on this project. At about the same time, SRSFF was announcing their own anthology, titled Venus—a bit too mushy for me, but it was better than zombies. I could write about love. In the end, I managed to make it not mushy at all, but this is another story that can be read here.

Soon after the announcement, AtelierKult declared zombies to be the theme of the next writing contest. That irked me a little because it meant another door was closed. I couldn’t write about something I knew nothing about and had zero interest in finding out more. I considered the subject closed and tried to put it out of my mind, but a thought kept nagging me. What do you mean I can’t write it? That was a bit of an insult to my intelligence.

So just as an exercise, I began to think about how I would write such a thing. A story that wouldn’t focus on the gore, and it would also have to be appealing to me or I wouldn’t waste my time writing it. For a whole week, I spent the time before falling asleep plotting such story. Yes, I know, not the best way to invoke pleasant dreams, but it brought no nightmares either. In order to stay away from the gore and conceal my lack of expertise in this field, I knew I had to find a different angle. So I cheated. I used first person point of view and made the readers focus on the character’s internal drama. To this, I added a bit of local flavor and made sure my zombies didn’t stink, hehe.

After everything was plotted from the first line to the last, it was time to do some research. I know people usually do it first, but I don’t bend my stories around reality, I bend reality around them. Anyway, I needed to see how zombies were portrayed in literature. My only encounter with them had taken place during middle school while watching The Night of the Living Dead, which caused me nightmares for a week. World War Z by Max Brooks was on top of all zombie book lists so I gave it a try. I gave up on it after the first fifty pages. It didn’t sound like a book I would read even without the zombies, there was no attachment to the plot and storyline. I moved on to David Moody’s Autumn. This one read much better, and I managed to get to the end without much problem. It also confirmed my suspicions that I didn’t need any more information to write my story.

I did and sent it to AtelierKult to have it critiqued and make sure I had gotten the horror part right. I must have since it won the contest. To those who don’t like open endings—I can’t stand them either—if you’re familiar with my stories then you’ll have no trouble knowing how it ends once you read the last line.

In conclusion, it’s not a challenge I would take every day, but it’s good to step out of your comfort zone now and then and try something new, especially when it ends with a satisfying “Yeah, I can do that too!”

P.S. I’m giving away an autographed copy to the first person who figures out in which town the action takes place. Close friends and family are excluded. :)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Eurocon 2013 Nomination

As revealed by Galileo Online, Catalin Badea-Gheracostea has announced the Romanian nominations for The European Science Fiction Society Awards.

I was quite surprised to find my name on the list in the Encouragement Award category.

The winners will be decided at Eurocon 2013, in Kiev, Ukraine (April 11-14).

Romanian Anthology: Călătorii în timp

According to SRSFF, Nemira has this time travel anthology in store for us. When you grew up reading sci fi books published by Nemira, being published by them feels a little surreal at first, but I'm sure I'll get used to it.

Edited by Antuza Genescu and with stories by Liviu Radu, George Lazar, Cristian-Mihai Teodorescu, Aurel Carasel, Ioana Visan, Stefana Czeller, Sergiu Somesan, Daniel Haiduc, Mircea Liviu Goga, and Silviu Genescu, this is one book you don't want to miss!

Pre-order it here.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Romanian Anthology: Zombii: Cartea morţilor vii

Cu moarte pe moarte călcând
Acolo unde viaţa se termină începe moartea. Şi regulile se inversează definitiv. Noua orânduire aduce domnia morţilor-vii. Nimeni nu mai e în siguranţă. Vânătoarea poate să înceapă. Acum, speranţa înseamnă doar amânarea vieţii de după moarte. Într-o Românie trecută, prezentă sau viitoare, nouăsprezece autori români imaginează apocalipsa zombilor. Douăzeci de viziuni originale, înfricoşătoare, credibile, care aduc România pe harta literaturii universale cu zombi.
Cu o moarte suntem toţi datori.
I'm not even going to try to translate the book description. All you need to know is that it's about zombies!

Published by Millennium Books, edited by Mircea Pricajean, and including stories by Laura Sorin, Răzvan T. Coloja, Ioana Vişan, A.R. Deleanu, Tudor Călin Zarojanu, Narcisa Stoica, Liviu Radu, Cristina Nemerovschi, Oliviu Crâznic, Florian Nan, Antuza Genescu, Florin Irimia, George Lazăr, Tiberiu-Virgil Popescu, Ciprian Mitoceanu, Roxana Brânceanu, Felix Tzele, Andrei Gaceff, and Diana Alzner, this book has been in the making for almost two years so I'm quite happy it finally sees the light of day.

The official book launch will be on March 23 at 1 PM, at Final Frontier book fair in Bucharest.

Pre-order it here.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Blue Moon Cafe Series Excerpt

My Wattpad experiment continues this time with and excerpt from my paranormal short story collection Blue Moon Cafe Series: Where Shifters Meet for Drinks. The Amazon sample ends abruptly somewhere in the middle of the Black Stripes story, so I chose this text to have it fully featured on my wattpad account. You can read it here.

Blue Moon Cafe Series: Where Shifters Meet for Drinks is available through Amazon,,,,,,,, iTunes, Kobo and Smashwords, for only $0.99 for a short period of time.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Book: Efectul de nautil

Ioana Visan

Să cumperi Timp, să traversezi spaţiul, să faci curat după extraterestrul pe care l-ai avut drept musafir. Să uiţi să respiri în timp ce o doamnă din lumea bună îţi povesteşte despre clone, să te plimbi între două lumi paralele în căutarea unei fugare, să iei cina cu Lucifer şi să nu ţi se mai pară grav, să imortalizezi pe retină aura tristă a unui djinn nomad…

Vocea personajelor Ioanei Vişan răzbate dincolo de vălul realităţii, invitîndu-ne să trăim scene fantastice din vieţile lor pline de un neprevăzut ce se insinuează cu obstinaţie printre fantome şi îngeri, asasini din viitor, mutanţi post-apocaliptici, nebuni şi genii deopotrivă. Şi dacă am fi în locul lor noi ce am face?

 In English, the book description sounds something like this:

To buy Time, to travel through space, to clean after an alien guest. To forget to breathe while an upper class lady tells you about clones, to walk between parallel universes in search of a fugitive, to dine with Lucifer and not find it strange, to see the sad aura of a nomad Djinn...

The voice of Ioana Visan's characters goes beyond the reality's veil, inviting us to witness fantastic scenes in their full of unexpected lives that creeps stubbornly between ghosts and angels, assassins from the future, post-apocalyptic mutants, madmen and geniuses alike. If we were in their place, what we would do?

Bottom of line, it's a book! 352 pages, 20 short stories, published by Millennium Book.  

Efectul de nautil (The Nautilus Effect) will be launched at Final Frontier book fair in Bucharest, on March 23 at 1 PM.

So mark down the date, add the book to your to-read list on GoodReads, pre-order it here, and show up to get an autograph at Final Frontier.

New Story in Argos Magazine

A new Romanian sci fi and fantasy magazine has been launched: Argos Magazine. Published by Texarom LLC and Media-Tech, and edited by Michael Haulica, Argos will have bi-monthly digital issues with part of the content available for free on the magazine's website as well as exclusive ebook content.

What does Argos bring beside a strong team and a kick ass cover art? Argos actually pays the writers for their work. I think it's the first Romanian sci fi and fantasy magazine that does that.

And to make it even better, the first Argos issue (April 2013) includes my short story "Un zambet de milioane" (A Smile Worth Millions). Now this story won an AtelierKult contest in 2012 so I'm quite proud of it. It's part of the exclusive content, which means you can read it starting with March 22 when the ebook becomes available.

Enjoy! :)

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Librex International Book Fair 2013

I'm forced to skip Librex this year thanks to a bad cold. I'm blaming the organizers for moving it so early in the spring when it's more likely for me to have a cold. Don't worry, I'll have the books brought to me. But I'm still miffed I'm missing the book fair.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Tell-Tale (NSFW)

To all the women out there, an artsy movie from 2010 with great script, acting, filming, lightning, sound effects, and, well... the rest. :) We should all start the morning with this to... umm... be inspired for the rest of the day. :)

Happy Woman's Day!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Human Instincts on Wattpad

Starting a little experiment here... trying Wattpad for the first time in hope it will bring a higher exposure to readers. So for the next three days, I'll post one part of my apocalyptic novella Human Instincts. Next week, there will be a story from my short story collection Blue Moon Cafe Series: Where Shifters Meet for Drinks. And the week after that, if you're good, you'll get the beginning of The Impaler's Revenge.

But for now, here's the first part of Human Instincts.

If you can't wait for the rest, Human Instincts is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, Sony, Smashwords.

Update: Part two of Human Instincts added.
2nd Update: Part two of Human Instincts added. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Final Frontier III, March 23-24, 2013

According to this announcement from Galileo Online, I'm invited to a book launch at Final Frontier Sci Fi & Fantasy Book Fair, on March 23, at 1 PM, in Bucharest.

Guess why? :)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Cover Reveal: The Impaler's Revenge by Ioana Visan

 The Impaler's Revenge
(The Impaler Legacy #1)

by Ioana Visan

In a world crawling with vampires, Romania is the safest place left on earth. Thanks to the Little Council, there hasn't been a vampire on Romanian ground in over five centuries. But one day, Liana Cantacuzino, also a member of the Little Council and a descendant of one of the old noble families, is ordered to bring one in, covertly. Enter Maximilien Hess, a thousand years old vampire determined to ruin the existing order of things.

Suddenly, Liana finds herself forced to protect Hess, instead of having the pandurs kill him. With the help from her trustful friends, Rodica Ghica and Ştefan Sturdza, and that of an innocent bystander, Dr. Jesse Carver, Liana has to find out what is going on and what the President is hiding from her. When all is revealed, Hess's secret changes everything.

The first novella in The Impaler Legacy series, a vampire saga like no other.

Coming to your ereaders this spring!