Saturday, June 29, 2013

2013 June Reading List

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson – I’m getting used to Sanderson’s style. I finally guessed a plot twist long before it happened. In a way, it was better than the Mistborn trilogy, and I only didn’t care for one POV.  4/5 stars

Abbadon’s Gate by James S. A. Corey – The first book in the Expanse series was great. The second book was just okay. This one was meh. It was a pain to get through the first half. Then it gets better, but you still have to get through the first half. It didn’t help that an editor recently pointed out to me the importance of avoiding SOB verbs. I kept spotting them all over the place and that really took me out of the story.  4/5 stars

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman – The prose is beautiful, it almost makes you want to listen to is like a bedtime story. It’s a typical bittersweet, angst ridden Gaiman story, and the length is just right.  4/5 stars

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman – After reading American Gods, which I absolutely loathed, I decided to give Gaiman’s a break for a while. The release of the new book brought my interest back and good thing it did. This story is playful, but it strays too often from the plot, and I didn’t care for the too many story-within-the-story and dream sequences.  4/5 stars

Sundiver by David Brin – Some great ideas, but I wasn’t so keen on the execution. 3/5 stars

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson – I never thought the lack of physical description of a main character could be so annoying. The science is interesting, but all the drawings took me out of the story. The book doesn’t work well as a stand alone novel, there are some plot holes and don’t get me started on how female characters are portrayed. It’s the weakest Sanderson novel I read so far, or maybe YA just isn’t for me anymore. 3/5 stars

Hmm, not much reading this month it seems. Well, I also caught up with half a year's worth of Lightspeed Magazine short stories. Not many moved me this time. Shrug.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

It's a wrap!

Last night I finished writing the third novella in The Impaler Legacy series. I pulled double duty all week, as in increasing the daily writing quota to 1,500 words from the usual 1,000, but it's done. It's a few thousand words shorter than the other two novellas in the series, but it will grow during rewrites when I develop some scenes more and add descriptions, so I'm not worried. Besides, if there's something I learned from Neil Gaiman and John Scalzi, it's that a story end when a story ends. 
Bottom of line: it's done!

The three novellas and two short stories amount to a total of cca. 120,000 words. That's the size of a novel, and a big one. It only took six months to write it. I wasn't sure I was able to pull it off as I'm not such a fast writer, but I did. Back in February when I announced the release of my Romanian short story collection "Efectul de nautil", Mr. Ghidoveanu asked me while I was a guest on his radio show on Romania Cultural when the public would see a novel from me. I didn't give him a straight answer because I wasn't 100% convinced I could deliver. Well, Mr. Ghidoveanu, here's your novel! Sure, it's in English, and it's split in several parts, but it makes sense as a whole.

Now don't get too excited, The Impaler Legacy #2 still needs to be released first. So watch this space for an announcement in July. I'm still working on the blurb, and it takes forever to write it. The ebook will become available towards the middle of August. The Impaler Legacy #3 will follow sometime in December. Yes, rewrites and edits will take this long, I'm afraid.

What to expect after this? The Stolen Wings trilogy is next on the list. How do you feel about a Fairy without wings?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Short Story and "Efectul de nautil" Review in SRSFF

June seems to be the month when I tend to go astray as in I publish stories in unusual (for me) places. Looking at my published story log, I realized that over the past few years the stories submitted to SFera Online, EgoPhobia, and Gazeta SF appeared online in the month of June. This year it's SRSFF Magazine's turn to host one of my stories. Please read "Rivalitate" and enjoy.

In the same issue of SRSFF Magazine (no. 5, June, 2013), Antuza Genescu writes a fabulous review of my sci fi and fantasy short story collection "Efectul de nautil". All I can say is I also hope I won't run out of ideas or steam any time soon. As for style, I think I'm pretty close to finding mine, but you know I get bored writing the same thing all the time and now and then I feel the need to write something different. And Science rulez! :)

P.S. I'm happy Mrs. Genescu mentioned "Cine a incurcat borcanele?". I was curious to see the readers' reaction to this story in particular since I had such a laugh writing it.

Later edit: Taking a look on H.G. Wells - Science Fiction Society website, I noticed they had a reading of "Efectul de nautil" on June 15. That's nice. I wonder what the audience thought about it.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

"Efectul de nautil" First Review

Big grin and all that stuff after reading Catalin Badea-Gheracostea review of "Efectul de nautil" in Observator cultural.

I don't know if my book qualifies as The debut of 2013 in the Romanian sci fi and fantasy prose, like he says, it's not for me to make such statement, but it surely tickles my ego a little. Okay, a little more. :)

I especially liked the way he identified the three main characteristics of my prose: the adventurous vibe (my characters usually struggle to accomplish something, the prose is not just a mixture of ideas put together), the couple (no matter how hard I try, I guess I'm still a romantic at hart, but hey, don't tell anyone!), and the happy-ending. I don't think I've ever written a story that ended badly--optimism is the way to go for me.

I hope this article will make my Romanian readers curious to give "Efectul de nautil" a try, and while they're at it, they can pick up "Instincte umane" too.

Friday, June 14, 2013

One year of self-publishing

On June 14,  2012, I self-published my first title. Human Instincts had been waiting for two years on my PC when I  decided to take a chance and send it out there. Since the editing process took longer than expected, the book wasn't ready in the beginning of June as planned, so I had to delay the release for the middle of the month. June 15 had a nice ring to it, but not knowing how long it was going to take for the ebook to be approved and what were the exact steps, I uploaded the book a day early. Amazon still lists it as being released on the 13th, maybe because I uploaded the book in the morning. The date is not that important, except that it kind of stuck, and it turned into a trend with all my ebooks being released on the 14th of the month.

So, a year... a busy year as far as self-publishing is concerned. Now I have three titles out: Human Instincts (an apocalyptic novella), Blue Moon Cafe Series: Where Shifters Meet for Drinks (a shapeshifter short story collection), and The Impaler's Revenge (the first novella in The Impaler Legacy vampire series). They're only available as ebooks as I didn't bother with printed copies. Maybe when I have a full novel, I'll consider that option too, but at 30,000-35,000 words, these are short, fast reads, perfect for e-readers and even your PC. Well, the Romanian edition of Human Instincts is also available in print from Millennium Books, but you have to speak Romanian for that.

During this time, my ebooks have received over 50 reviews on various platforms. Most of them are positive reviews, all the negative ones coming from people who received the books for free for review purposes, ha! I'm quite proud to announce that not even one refund has been recorded on Amazon.

Considering that I only had a vague idea about self-publishing when I started on this adventure, I don't think I did that badly. Of course, there are areas where I could have done better, especially where promotion is concerned. Still, sales and reviews still trickle in for titles I haven't promoted in six months, so I must have done something right. Or maybe it's because of the writing, hell if I know... Waiting for editors to return their drafts is still frustrating, but I got better at handling my impatience. I always work on a new project while editing another one. I'm not as good at social networking as socializing in particular is not my forte, but feel free to interact with me on Twitter, Facebook, etc. I promise I'll be nice. The good news is that writing has become easier and remains the most enjoyable activity from the whole publishing process, and as long as I enjoy it I'll stick to it.

What's on the agenda for the upcoming year? Here is the plan:
- finish and publish the entire The Impaler Legacy series by the end of the year (there are good chances for that to happen since I'm close to finish writing the last novella in the series)
- publish the first book in The Stolen Wings trilogy probably in the beginning of the next year (final draft still needs to be done)
- write the second book in The Stolen Wings trilogy (preferably this year so I can set a tentative release date towards the end of 2014)
- squeeze in either a steampunk novella or the first part of a space opera saga somewhere in there (it depends of time constraints as I plan to do some traditional publishing too, mostly for anthologies).

Until then, check this space for some discounted prices in July. Those who know me know why. :)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

"Ferestrele timpului" announced for Gaudeamus 2013

Another time travel anthology, "Ferestrele timpului" (The Windows of Time), this time edited by Stefan Ghidoveanu and published by Millennium Books, will hit the shelves at Gaudeamus book fair this fall, according to the announcement on Mr. Ghidoveanu's blog.

It will include stories by Adrian Buzdugan, Roxana Brînceanu, Ștefana Czeller, Eugen Cadaru, Ioana Vișan, George Lazăr, Oliviu Crâznic, Narcisa Stoica, Liviu Radu, Cristina Ghidoveanu, Aron Biro, Ana-Veronica Mircea, Ciprian Mitoceanu, Antuza Genescu, and Florin Pîtea.

My story is quite different from the one included in "Calatorii in timp", so don't miss it!

Monday, June 3, 2013

"Calatorii in timp" Review

The June issue of Nautilus Magazine includes a review of "Calatorii in timp". I was expecting Mr. Radu to focus a little more on each story, the way he usually does, but I'm happy with the conclusion either way.

"Calatorii in timp" has a 35% discount on Nemira website so get it now!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

About Bookfest in "Observator cultural"

In his latest column in "Observator cultural", Catalin Badea-Gheracostea talks about the new Romanian books available at Bookfest this weekend in Bucharest.

After all the praises he gave "Efectul de nautil" and "Instincte umane", and considering that we have never met face to face, I feel like I owe him a couple of drinks!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Impaler's Revenge Reviews (4)

Two new reviews of The Impaler's Revenge show that people are warming up to the story. I'm always happy when they enjoy my writing:

"I've read Ioana's works before and enjoyed them. She usually has a different take on the paranormal, so I was interested to see where she would go with vampires. [...] Ioana has built a complex and riveting world..." - Wendy L. Hines

"She gives us the information about her world on a need to know basis. [...] This is good world building. I know enough to understand this world but I have not gone through big, long explanations." - Sheila Gallagher

Opinions on how Liana vary:

"Liana is a bit boring, to be honest. I wish she had a bit more rebellion in her to liven things up." - Wendy L. Hines

"I like Liana. She is not haughty nor is she a kick-ass broad. She is somewhere in between and that makes her likable. She is also aware of the power and prestige of her position on the Little Council. She can do much." - Sheila Gallagher

Everyone likes Max, though:

"Now Max is another story - he definitely is the star of this first installment of a new series..." - Wendy L. Hines

"I also liked Maximilien (do not call him Max.) He knows what is at stake but will not tell Liana until he realizes that they do not have much time if they are to avert a world-wide crisis." - Sheila Gallagher  

In the end, what satisfies me more is that they are all looking forward to read some more:

"I really started to enjoy the dynamics about half way through and look forward to another book in this series." - Wendy L. Hines

"I am anxious to see what happens next." - Sheila Gallagher  

Well, I can only hope the sequel won't disappoint my readers.

Read the full reviews here and here.

The Impaler's Revenge is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.