Thursday, October 31, 2013

Romanian Anthology: Ferestrele timpului

Edited by Stefan Ghidoveanu and published by Tracus Arte, the time travel anthology "Ferestrele timpului. Antologie de fictiuni speculative" (Windows of Time) will be here soon as announced on the editor's blog.

Table of contents
00. Ştefan Ghidoveanu – Introducere: moshul s.f. în luptă cu timpul
01. Adrian Buzdugan – „Spaţiu lavabil cu granule de timp”
02. Roxana Brînceanu – Traseu de noapte
03. Eugen Lenghel – Moş Timp
04. Ştefana Czeller – Dincolo de aripile corbului
05. Eugen Cadaru – Camera de la capătul culoarului
06. Ioana Vişan – Dacă aerul n-ar avea miros
07. George Lazăr -  Second Chance
08. Oliviu Crâznic – Imora
09. Narcisa Stoica – Gadjo
10. Liviu Radu – Ca mărgelele dintr-un colier…
11. Cristina Ghidoveanu – Poarta
12. Aron Biro – În căutarea timpului pierdut
13. Ana-Veronica Mircea – Clipa eternă
14. Ciprian Mitoceanu – O datorie mai veche
15. Antuza Genescu – Aventuri cu Wilkie: Femeia din portofel
16. Florin Pîtea – Care antologie?
17. Bio-bibliografiile autorilor

I love the cover art and I'm really glad to have my story included. 

2013 October Reading List

Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan – This was better than the first book in the series, but I wouldn’t have bothered if it hadn’t been for Ms. Brennan’s humor. It cracks me up every time. 3/5 stars 

The Litigators by John Grisham – It was a nice change to read 3rd person POV omniscient and find POV changes in the middle of the scene. 3/5 stars 

Lexicon by Max Barry – Great idea, but so much more could have been done with it. The characters remained distant and unsympathetic, and I felt like I was cheated of an entire scene at the end.  4/5 stars

The Martian by Andy Weir – I didn’t think there was anything relevant left to write about Mars after Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy, but Weir proved me wrong. I fucking loved this book. I know, I know, I’m such a geek.   4/5 stars 

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson – I didn’t finish this one. It turns out Sanderson’s YA novels are not for me. Sure, I should have learned my lesson after The Rithmatist but… So Mr. Sanderson, please go back to writing adult stuff. It’s been proven that all teens turn into adults eventually so there’s plenty of time to get them hooked on your books.

One for the Money by Janet Evanovich – After the disappointment brought by Steelheart, I needed something silly to cheer me up. I might have enjoyed this one more when it was first released as in twenty years ago. The way it was it gave me a few chuckles, but I surely have seen/read better humor. 2/5 stars 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

NaNoWriMo or How to fry your brain

For those who wonder what NaNoWriMo is, it's short for National Novel Writing Month, also known as Nano for those used to the game. It started several years ago in the States, but since then it became international with more and more people joining in each year. The basics are simple: from 1st to 30th of November, the participants have to write 50,000 words. That would a short novel for those wondering. It also means writing an average of 1,666 words per day for 30 days in a row.

I know there's a lot of excitement about Nano out there. Several of my friends are doing it. I never have. What irks me when it comes to Nano is the emphasis put on getting the word count done. It doesn't matter what you write as long as you reach the 50,000 word mark. Well, let me tell you something: if you write with this goal in mind, then the editing process and getting something decent out of the first draft is going to be a nightmare, and you risk wasting more time doctoring the manuscript than you saved by writing it.

There are, however, two categories of people who Nano can be useful for. First, there are those who have problems with finishing things. It shows them it can be done. I'm not one of them as I never had this problem. Then, there are those who plot in advance every scene in the story. I don't doubt it works great for them, but if I have everything figured out, it takes the fun out of the writing process for me. If there are no surprises on the way and I only have to type the words, then it turns into work for me. And writing is not work, it's entertaining and fun and, sometimes, even magical.

So this is what I'm going to do this November--my own version of Nano. I'm done with The Impaler Legacy series, actually I finished the final draft of Order Restored at the end of June and I have been sort of vacationing since, but let's not dwell on that. It's time to start a new project (you'll want to have something else to read after you finish The Impaler Legacy, right?), and since I haven't written any serious sci fi in way too long, this is me going back to basics. The world I'm creating is rich and colorful, but in the same time dark and complex, so I still have to decide if it's going to be a novella or a short novel. I have a whole cast of characters who all deserve to have their story told. Also, I know what happens in the first fifteen scenes of the story, but I don't feel like I reached the middle point yet so we'll see.

I usually write 1,000 words per day except for the weekends. This time, the exception I'll make for Nano is that I'll try to write during the weekends too. This will be my goal, not 50k. It means that at the end of November I'll have 30k. Even if I reach this goal or not, the plan is to have the first draft done by the end of the year. And then I have another fun story to write, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. Of course, it means I'm postponing again finishing the fantasy trilogy when I should have written book 2 this year. No harm done, I guess, since I haven't released book 1 yet. Otherwise, the readers would have gotten upset if they had to wait such a long time. Then there's the space opera saga I keep mentioning... Well, they'll all come when the time is right.

Okay, we're ready, let the circus begin, literally!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

A bunch of 5 star reviews and free stories

Because it's Sunday - and Sundays are supposed to be filled with good things, right? :) - I'm going to share with you a few 5 star reviews.

The Impaler's Revenge - Not just your average vampire story!

"Just as a sidenote, you do not have to like vampires to read this novel - but you don't have to hate them either. So just disregard the current hype and read this because it is a well written story, not because it contains vampires!" - Yes! :D

Read the rest here.

A Victory that Counts - An interesting plot with twists and turns makes for a must read!

"In this warlike setting, which is undoubtedly a lot grittier than the first novella, there are some expected fight scenes, even including torture and slaughter, yet it never gets too gruesome for the squeamish ones amongst us." - Yep.

Read the rest here.

Blue Moon Café Series: Where Shifters Meet for Drinks - Were - what?

Read the review here.

Oh, and if you want a free copy of Blue Moon Café Series, today is the last day when you can enter the LibraryThing Giveaway. ;)

In other news, I had the two free short stories in The Impaler Legacy series, Sweet Surrender and Casualties of War, uploaded to Smashwords and Amazon. They're still free on Smashwords, but Amazon is fussy about it so I need your help to make them free there to.

It's easy. All you have to do is login to Amazon, go to the ebooks' pages, paste the Smashwords link in the 'tell us about a lower price' field, and set the price and cost to 0. Here are the links:

Sweet Surrender (The Impaler Legacy #1.5)

Casualties of War (The Impaler Legacy #2.5)

Thank you!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Shortcut Virus on Kindle

I wanted to upload a book to my Kindle last week, but Calibre refused to connect to the device. After the initial moment of panic, I opened the drive to see what was wrong. Instead of the usual directory structure, I found only shortcuts to the top folders and files, and they of course led nowhere.

It wasn't my first encounter with the shortcut virus, so I knew my files weren't lost but only hidden. I also knew how to fix it for a flash drive (backup the files + quick format), but I wasn't so sure it would work the same for a Kinde and I didn't want to risk and ruin it.

After wasting an entire weekend browsing the internet in search of a solution and finding only posts on how to unhide the files, I figured it out by myself and decided to write a blog post about it. Maybe this will help someone else too.

The Shortcut Virus

Source: It usually comes with an infected flash drive.

Behavior: Once your PC is infected, whenever you connect a flash drive, it infects the flash drive too. Shortcuts to the top folders and files are created, and the original files and folders are hidden. You can still access the files if you set Windows Explorer or Total Commander to show the hidden files, but it's annoying, and of course the flash drive is still infected.

Solution: At the time I'm writing this post, the only free online antivirus able to detect it is Karpesky. I tried four others and no luck.

1. The first thing you need to do is clean your PC so download Karpersky Virus Removal Tool (it asks for your e-mail address, but other than that it's free) and run it. It's enough to do a scan of the C: drive. The virus (VBS/Kryptik.I trojan) is a vbs file and it hides in
C:\Documents and Settings\user\Local Settings\Temp\    
C:\Documents and Settings\user\Start Menu\Programs\
When the antivirus finds it, choose to delete it.

2. Do the same thing for all of the infected flash drives (it turned out we had three in the house, plus the Kindle).

3. Next, it's time to fix the directory structure of the flash drive.
Delete all shortcuts (extension lnk).
There's a DOS command for unhiding files (attrib -h -r -s /s /d drive_letter:\*.*), but I'm lazy and prefer to use Total Commander. The shareware version is perfectly functional, and it's a better file manager than Windows Explorer.
Set it to display hidden files (Configuration - Options - Display - Show hidden/system files).
Select all the files from the flash drive and unhide them (File - Change attributes - deselect Archive, Read-only, Hidden, System).

And ta-dah! You're done.

You're welcome. :)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Interview in Argos Magazine

I was interviewed for the October issue of Argos Magazine.

Here's the proof.

Thank you, Horia!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Blue Moon Cafe Series LibraryThing Giveaway

With the Halloween approaching, how about reading some shapeshifter stories to set you in the mood? Blue Moon Cafe Series: Where Shifters Meet for Drinks is my best-seller so far, and I'm giving away 25 copies through a LibraryThing giveaway. You have two weeks to request a copy.

If you can't wait that long, Blue Moon Cafe Series: Where Shifters Meet for Drinks is available through Smashwords, Amazon,,,,,,,, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, Sony.

If you've read it already, do leave a review and rate it on Amazon and Goodreads. Thanks! 

Monday, October 14, 2013

For Romanian aspiring writers

Another post in Romanian because it's aimed at the Romanian aspiring writers.

Zilele trecute am primit un mesaj de la un scriitor roman aflat la inceputul drumului. Terminase de scris un roman si ma intreba cam care-i treaba cu publicarea la noi si in strainatate. Dupa ce mi-am revenit din mirare, m-am simtit flatata, pentru ca, deh, dintre toti scriitorii existenti ma alesese tocmai pe mine (daca a intrebat si pe altii, nu stiu, dar daca a facut-o, bravo lui!), apoi m-a apucat putin jalea ca parca abia ieri eram si eu incepatoare, dar mi-a trecut si asta.

Mi-am spus ca frumos era sa-i raspund si m-am apucat sa alcatuiesc o lista cu cam ce ar trebui sa stie, insa in timp ce scriam m-am gandit ca poate le-ar fi de folos si altora.  Asa ca am transformat raspunsul intr-o postare pentru blog. Unele lucruri le-am mai mentionat prin interviuri pe ici, pe colo, dar aici sunt toate adunate la un loc si, intre timp, poate ca am mai invatat cate ceva.

Publicarea la noi:

Aici am sa vorbesc din proprie experienta, cu referire mai mult la domeniul care ma intereseaza pe mine, si anume literatura SF si fantasy, dar observatiile sunt general valabile.

Scriitorul incepator viseaza sa debuteze cu un roman minune care sa ii aduca faima si glorie. Ei, nu e chiar asa. De ce? Pentru ca nimeni nu s-a nascut invatat. Meseria asta are si ea niste reguli si canoane pe care nu ai de unde sa le stii pana nu te lovesti de ele. Nu ajunge doar sa asterni niste cuvinte pe hartie. Sigur, poti sa lucrezi la un roman zece ani si, in paralel, sa participi la toate cursurile de scriere creativa posibile si probabil ca in final vei obtine un material cat de cat acceptabil, dar asta nu te va scuti de ezitarea editorilor de a arunca pe piata un nume necunoscut. Si spune sincer, nu te-ai plictisi sa lucrezi la acelasi lucru atata timp, cand sunt atatea alte povesti pe care ai putea sa le spui?

Exista insa o cale mai scurta de a-ti face numele cunoscut, si anume prin proza scurta. Exista mai multe reviste on-line (Gazeta SF, Nautilus, SRSFF, Helion, Revista de Suspans,, Argos si altele) care publica povestiri. Unele organizeaza si concursuri. Cele mai multe nu platesc sau te recompenseaza in carti, dar nu asta este important in momentul de fata. Pe tine te intereseaza sa auda lumea de tine si sa primesti feedback la texte, ca sa-ti imbunatatesti tehnica. Deci slefuieste textele si trimite-le, de preferinta fara greseli de redactare sau gramaticale. Pe editori nu-i intereseaza decat sa primeasca texte bune, se poate comunica  usor cu ei si, daca sunt probleme, unii dintre ei chiar iti vor da sfaturi in legatura cu punctele slabe. Dupa ce ai prins ceva curaj, poti sa incerci la revistele tiparite (CPSF, Galileo, Helion).

Dar ca sa ajungi in faza asta, inainte de toate trebuie sa ai un text bun si, neaparat, bine lucrat. Adica mai multe revizii, facute nu numai de tine. Fie ca mergi la cursuri de scriere creativa sau nu (au inceput sa apara si la noi in orasele mari) si studiezi tomuri de literatura de specialitate (manualul de scriere creativa al Ninei Munteanu e destul de bun si s-a tradus si la noi), o critica directa, axata pe problema, este de neinlocuit. De aceea, indicat este sa te alaturi unui atelier literar. Daca nu gasesti unul local, se poate si on-line. De exemplu AtelierKult. Ai nevoie de un obraz gros, ca sa suporti toate criticile, dar vei vedea ca cele mai multe sunt bine intentionate si de real ajutor.

Ei, si dupa ce ai trecut prin toate astea, poti sa incepi sa cauti o editura pentru romanul tau. Daca l-ai scris mai demult si revii asupra lui, ai sa descoperi cate lucruri nu stiai si pe care le-ai invatat intre timp.

Publicarea in strainatate:

Ma voi referi la piata de carte in limba engleza, pentru ca iti ofera acces la publicul cel mai larg. Ideal ar fi sa scrii direct in engleza sau macar sa iti traduci singur manuscrisul, pentru ca tu stii cel mai bine ce-ai vrut sa spui in el, iar cei din generatia mea si mai ales cei mai tineri sunt toti vorbitori de engleza.

Indiferent cum ai obtinut manuscrisul in engleza, l-ai scris/tradus/ti l-a tradus cineva, sunt doi pasi pe care neaparat nu trebuie sa ii sari. In primul rand, alatura-te unui critique group (,, etc.) in care membrii isi critica reciproc textele. Vei observa ca cei mai multi se conduc dupa un anume set de reguli si este de asteptat ca si editorii sa faca la fel. Dupa ce manuscrisul ti-a fost criticat de mai multe persoane si ai efectuat modificarile vine faza de editare. Fiind la inceput de cariera, banuiala mea este ca n-ai sa-ti permiti sa angajezi un editor profesionist si pana si freelancerii or sa ti se para scumpi. Solutia este sa gasesti doi vorbitori nativi de engleza care sa citeasca manuscrisul de la cap la coada si sa-ti semnaleze eventualele erori ramase.

Abia acum putem vorbi efectiv de publicare. Ce alegi? Publicare traditionala sau in regie proprie? Parerea mea (posibil eronata, desi nu prea cred) este ca ei au destui scriitori de-ai lor ca sa-si mai bata capul cu un debutant de limba straina care le-ar complica planurile de promovare din cauza problemelor de limba, transport, etc. Ar mai fi varianta alegerii unei edituri care se bazeaza pe ebookuri si print-on-demand. Sunt o multime asa ca trebuie sa-ti face bine temele ca sa decizi pe care o alegi, pentru ca am auzit de titluri care se vand bine, dar si de scriitori nemultumiti de serviciile lor.

Daca niciuna din variante nu-ti convine, ramane self-publishing-ul. Cu destul de multa munca, se poate face. Am scris o serie de articole pe tema asta anul trecut, asa ca n-am sa revin asupra subiectului.

In final, sfatul meu este urmatorul: scrie mult, scrie ce-ti place si revizuieste si mai mult. Intre timp, citeste cat incape.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Steampunk: A doua revolutie eBook

Steampunk: A doua revolutie is finally available as an ebook on

The book received the Galileo Award for Best Anthology in 2012.

It includes my short story "Miss Vu's Morning Ride" for which I was nominated in the Debut category at ROMCON 2012.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Instincte umane Review

In the October issue of Argos Magazine, Tudor Ciocarlie reviews the Romanian edition of Human Instincts.

Aside from the fact that he liked it, which I already knew because he also read the English edition, he says towards the end that he'd like to read a sci fi novel written by your truly.

Weeell... it just happens that this is next on my to do list. The world I'm thinking of is too rich to cram it inside a novella so I might just end up with a short novel instead. 

Yes, I know I'm postponing once again finishing The Stolen Wings trilogy, but I've been writing fantasy for the past year, and I long for writing some sci fi for a change.

Gary Barlow - Let Me Go

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Evolution: Vol. 2 October Sale

During the month of October, Evolution: Vol. 2 (A Short Story Collection) is on sale for only $0.99. It includes my short story Beneath the Skin, so hurry up and get it before the price goes back up to $4.99.

Here are the links:

Amazon US
Barnes and Nobleicon
Amazon CA
Amazon UK