Saturday, May 31, 2014

2014 May Reading List

CPSF15 – A bit in two minds about the first two stories, but Abercrombie’s was good even if a little pointless. 4/5 stars Nemira

CPSF16 – I wish the magazine included more translations of recent stories, like Gregory Benford’s, and lay off on the 80s stuff. 4/5 stars Nemira

Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence – Clearly a debut novel with the expected flaws. The age of the hero bothered me the most, along with the final reveal and confrontation. All the secondary characters were just cardboard sketches, except for the captain who frankly was more interesting than the MC. 4/5 stars Amazon Bookdepository

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith – A decent crime novel, though I cared only about the detective and his secretary and none of the other characters.  4/5 stars Amazon Bookdepository

Best of Mystery & Horror #1 edited by Mircea Pricajan – Not bad considering that I’m not really into horror. It includes one of my short stories so I'm not going to rate it. Herg Benet

The Door into Summer by Robert A. Heinlein – Every spring I make  sure to read a Heinlein book, it sort of turned into a habit. I loved the title and its significance, and of course all the rambling about the cat. The book was pretty good too, though not one of his best.  4/5 stars Amazon Bookdepository

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Bookfest 2014

The biggest Romanian spring book fair, Bookfest, is taking place at Romexpo in Bucharest between May 28 and June 1st.

The new releases that include my stories are:

Of course, you can also find my other Romanian books there. For a complete list, look here.

Monday, May 26, 2014

The Impaler Legacy Q & A - Gabriel Trotuş

Transcript of the Academy graduation interview

Interviewer: Please state your name, age, and hometown.

Trotuş: Gabriel Trotuş, twenty-four years old, Bac ău.

How many years did you train at the Academy? 

Five years, three for the regular course, and two for the extended course.

You didn’t do the mandatory six-month training period? 

No, I applied for the full course from the start, and when I finished the regular course, I was accepted to continue based on my results.

What made you choose this path? 

My parents are factory workers. They couldn’t have afforded to send me to college for any number of years. Keeping me in high school was hard enough after my father was injured in an accident and could only work part time. It was tough all around. I wanted to get a job, but I was still a minor so I couldn’t. And after graduation, high school alone wouldn’t have gotten me anywhere. I still needed an education.

How did you get in? 

I had good grades, and I did okay at the physical tests.

Just okay? 

I’ve never been extra strong, but I compensate with my speed.

And is that enough? 

I doubted it in the beginning, but it turned out it is. I did well during all of our trips abroad. Not one scratch.

Yes, I see that in your file. The only injuries recorded happened during the training with our own people. How did you achieve that? 

A healthy dose of fear, sir.

I see. I’m glad it works for you. It’s hard to properly fear something you rarely meet in person. Still, why the extended course? You could have stopped after the first three years. It would have given you a decent social position and removed the burden from your family. 

If I’m going to do something, then I’ll do it right, sir. I could only achieve that by going all the way.

This qualifies you for offering protection to the Little Council. Are you sure you’re ready for such a big responsibility? 

I believe I am, sir.

This seems to be the opinion of the person who recommended you too. 

May I ask who that was, sir?

A certain Andrei Spânu. I believe you know him? 

Yes, sir, I do. We participated to missions abroad together. Twice. He was two years ahead of me and the leader of my squad.

Well, he received a promotion for a well done job in Syria, and when asked if he had any preference for a partner, he suggested your name. 

I’ll make sure to thank him for this opportunity, sir.

Yeah, well … Anyway, make sure to report to the Cantacuzino residence on Monday morning. 

Cantacuzino, sir? Miss Liana Cantacuzino?

Yes, she’s due a change of guards soon. Is this going to be a problem? 

No, sir. It’s just that … I wasn’t expecting to be assigned to protect a woman. I imagined she’d prefer female guards.

Did you see many female pandurs at the Academy? 

Not that many, sir.

Let me assure you that if Miss Cantacuzino wanted female guards under her orders, she would have changed the law by now and there would be an entire platoon waiting to fill in that position. 

I understand, sir.

I’m not sure you do. Do not underestimate Miss Cantacuzino. I trained her myself. 

I won’t, sir.

Good. She travels abroad quite often on diplomatic missions, so there won’t be time to get bored … or lazy. 

Never lazy, sir.

You better remember that. It hasn’t happened in a while, but you will still face charges of high treason if you lose a Little Council member who happens to be in your charge.

Yes, sir.

So, are you still willing to accept the position? 

I’m looking forward to it, sir.

In that case … congratulations, Mr. Trotuş, and may God have mercy on your soul. 

Thank you very much, Captain Nour.

(Scheduled to be published during The Impaler Legacy Omnibus blog tour, but it wasn't because of technical reasons, so this is a world premiere.)

The Impaler Legacy Omnibus is available on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Vote for "Efectul de nautil" and get it with 40% off discount

Millennium Books has discounted all of the Colin Award nominated books, so now's your chance to get "Efectul de nautil" with 40% off.

You can also vote for "Efectul de nautil" in this poll in the Volum de proza scurta SF category.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Impaler Legacy Q & A - Dr. Jesse Carver

Interviewer: Hello, Dr. Carver. Thank you for joining us today.

Dr. Jesse Carver: Please, call me Jesse.

Jesse. How were the snacks? Did Max leave any, or did he eat them all?
Oh, Hess is very fussy when it comes to food. I’m not. And I love Romanian cuisine.

Really? What do you like best?

I like traditional Christmas and Easter food. Stuffed cabbage rolls, pork sausages, boeuf salad…

Easter sponge cake?

No, I’m afraid I’m not a big fan of the sponge cake. I’ll take a chocolate cake any day.

Me too. So, do you feel at home in Romania?

Yes, I got accustomed with the life here rather fast. It’s not much different when you spend most of the time working in the hospital. The patients are the same everywhere.

Except there’s no vampire blood in our hospitals.

One can’t have it all, but it’s manageable.

Let’s stop talking about work for a moment. What do you do for fun?

It’s been so long since I’ve had a day off that I can barely remember … sleeping comes to mind.

I was thinking about something more active. Did you get to visit the country a bit since moving to Romania?

Some. I didn’t have much time, and I’ve been traveling a lot lately. Liana promised we’d go sightseeing when she takes a vacation. Of course, I’ll believe it when I see it.

Do you think she works too much?

Do you have to ask? I try to make her slow down but … even Hess can’t so…

Well, she has a lot of responsibilities.

She doesn’t have to carry the whole world’s weight on her shoulders if you ask me. That’s what the Little Council is for.

Maybe she likes a more hands on approach.

You would too if you were left alone to defend the world from the new breeds.

Does she feel there’s no one she can rely on?
I wouldn’t go that far. And she isn’t alone anymore.

She has you now.

And Hess. And her friends, too.

Can you give us an update on her friends?

Ştefan won the elections. He’s the youngest President Romania ever had. They dug Radu up from under the rocks. He’s fine. Rodica is still recovering. She got it worse than I with the new breed venom, but the prognosis is good.

What about you? You’ve been through quite an ordeal too. How’s the health?

I’m fine. It sure helps that there are no more new breeds around to make my life difficult. I’m glad it’s over.

I’m glad to hear that. So, what’s the plan next?

I don’t know, you’ll have to ask Liana. She doesn’t share work secrets with me.

I doubt that, but okay. People are asking about Bella. What happened to her?

She’s at home. We sort of kidnapped her.

And Liana agreed to this?

She didn’t have much choice. We were discussing our travel plans upon leaving New Zealand, and out of the blue, Bella started growling. It turned out she’s bilingual. Liana blames me for spoiling her, but it was already done. You can’t say no to a dog trained to kill vampires once she sets her mind to do something. So she got it her way.

That’s a cute story, especially about Bella being bilingual. We know you’re speaking Romanian too. Before you go, tell us something in Romanian.

Oh, that’s a tough one. Did you know Bella completely destroyed my dictionary? It happened one day when we returned home late. Anyway, what do you want me to say? Hmm … Mi-a f ă cut plăcere şi sper să ne mai vedem. It was nice to meet you and I hope we can do this again. I know, the accent is terrible!

No, it’s fine. No need to be so modest. Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions today. I know keeping a high profile is not on top of your list.

That’s true, I enjoy being a nobody, but this was fun. So count on me if you ever need some inside information. Maybe for a future book? No one likes to disappear into nothingness.

I’ll keep that in mind. Thank you, Jesse. Enjoy the opera!

Oh, God, I forgot about that!

(Previously published on Fantasy World during The Impaler Legacy Omnibus blog tour.)

The Impaler Legacy Omnibus is available on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

"Efectul de nautil" nominated at COLIN Awards

The good news keep on coming. "Efectul de nautil" (The Nautilus Effect) was nominated in the Best Sci Fi Short Story Collection category at COLIN Awards 2014.

Here are all of the nominees in this category:

Costi Gurgu, Cronici de la capătul Pământului, 2011
Ana-Veronica Mircea, Floarea de loldilal, 2012
Marian Truţă, A doua venire, 2013
Ioana Vişan, Efectul de nautil, 2013

I'm honored to find myself in such distinguished company and a bit surprised to see my little nautilus get this far. It turns out my little nautilus is not just any nautilus after all. 

Many thanks go to Michael Haulica who urged me to put this collection together, to Horia Ursu for publishing it, and to the members of the jury who nominated it. It made an already sunny day even brighter.

If you don't have it already, you can find "Efectul de nautil" here.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Impaler Legacy Omnibus Print Edition

The Impaler Legacy Omnibus print edition is here, and it looks great! It feels good to hold in your hands the result of a whole year of work.

You can order it on CreateSpace and Amazon. In a few weeks, more distribution channels will pick it up too.

I prefer you buy it from CreateSpace because I get higher royalties there, but if you're more comfortable with Amazon, that's all right.

Regardless of where you buy it from, once you read it, please leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads.

Oh, and if you're a new reader, keep in mind The Impaler Legacy Omnibus isn't YA, and it isn't erotica either. It's a political thriller with vampires, so a lot of action, little romance, and no love for the fanged ones. You've been warned.

Thank you and enjoy!

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Impaler Legacy Q & A - Maximilien Hess

Interviewer: Hello, everyone! We have the honor of being in Maximilien Hess’s company today, a one-thousand-year-old vampire. May I call you Max?

Maximilien Hess: I prefer Maximilien if you don’t mind.

Very well. How is life treating you these days, Maximilien?

Same old, same old.

You’re over a thousand years old. Can life still surprise you?
It can, and it does.

Are those good or bad surprises?

The new breeds were an unfortunate surprise. The collaboration with Miss Cantacuzino, however, fell in the opposite category.

I take it you are contented with the way things turned out?

It could have been better, many lives were lost, but it could have been much worse, too. We learn as we live.

Even you?

Even me.

I’m sorry if it looks like I’m staring. I’m just thinking about what to ask you next. Interviewing people is not exactly my area of expertise.

You’re a writer. How hard can it be?

You’re obviously not one. Things don’t work that way. We’re used to making things up, not dragging information out of people … And I know exactly what you’re doing. You’re trying to switch the focus of the conversation on me rather than talk about you. Smart.

Thank you. It usually works. People love to talk about themselves, and I’m genuinely interested in listening. It’s a win-win situation.

Only that writers are used to talking about other people. Even when they talk about themselves, they make things up more often than not. That would be of no use to you.

So I’m stuck with this interview. Very well. It won’t hurt more than a new breed bite.

You make it sound so tedious. How do you know what a new breed bite feels like?

I was there when the new breeds attacked and then at the lab. I fought along our joined armies. Of course I know what a new breed bite feels like.

Sorry, I didn’t mean to insult you. It’s just that, given the way they talk about you, it sounds as if you walk on water or something. The enemies drop dead just by looking at you.
I wish it were that easy! Unfortunately, it’s not. I fought along their side, and of course I got injured not just once. It hurts like hell, but other than that … What most people don’t get is that it’s not about being invincible. It’s about survival. You should be able to understand the concept.

I’m sure many of us do. But how important is one’s survival?

It ranks as high as protecting the ones you love. Or it should.

Not higher?

Ideally not.

Still, there must be a balance. There must be a limit.

Like saving the world? We achieved that, didn’t we?

Like a side effect? Is that how it’s supposed to work?

Does it matter the reason behind it as long as it gets you the desired result?

The problem with that logic is that there are a lot of paths on the way from A to Z. Lots of things can go wrong. There can be many unexpected casualties.

You sound like Liana.

Thank you, though I’m not sure it’s a compliment.

She survived the war, didn’t she?

So she’s a survivor.

And a fine leader too.

You sound impressed. Were you surprised to discover she’s a good leader?

When I came to Romania, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I was flying in blind so to speak. I hate doing that.

Because it’s not safe?

Safety and Romania don’t belong in the same sentence when it comes to vampires. I’ve had pandurs assigned to protect me from their own people. That was all kinds of messed up.

But you survived.

Lucky for me, there’s corruption everywhere. But I must admit there were several moments when I wished I were anywhere else.

Like that episode in Sibiu?

The worst blood I’ve ever tasted! It nearly did me in.

I don’t buy that.

Maybe not, but you would believe it rather than accept the idea that I could be lying to you. Humans tend to dismiss threats too big for them to control.

And vampires don’t?

We’re more proactive than that. We did take action as soon as the first signs of new breeds appeared.

I suppose we should thank you for alerting us about the threat. And fighting next to us.
It was a big risk, but it was worth taking. It affected us too so the sooner we put an end to the threat the better.

Why are you smiling?

You got me talking.

Not about specifics…

It’s still more than others have succeeded doing.

Then I’m not that bad at this after all. I’d pat myself on the back, but I reckon it’s better if I wait until we’re done here.

Yes, you do that… I’m sorry I have to cut our meeting short, but we have tickets to the opera this evening. You’re welcome to give it another try next time.

Is that a challenge?

Take it any way you like

Thank you for your time, Maximilien.

The pleasure was all mine, Miss V.

(Previously published on  Diane's Book Blog during The Impaler Legacy Omnibus blog tour.)

The Impaler Legacy Omnibus is available on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Xenos. Contact intre civilizatii - Table of Contents

The content of Xenos. Contact intre civilizatii was revealed on Facebook:

Liviu Radu – „Adevărul despre expediţia Starky”
Cristian Teodorescu – „Iar visezi femei?”
Daniel Haiduc – „Întâlnire cu rhumbii”
Diana Alzner – „O insulă în marginea lumii”
Ioana Vişan – „Secvenţă de zbor”
George Lazăr – „Cum să prinzi un extraterestru viu şi nevătămat”
Mircea Liviu Goga – „John & John”
Ştefana Czeller – „Luna sângerie”
Aurel Cărăşel – „Migraţia”

Xenos. Contact intre civilizatii can be ordered here.

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Impaler Legacy Q & A - Liana Cantacuzino

Interviewer: Hello, Liana. Thank you for joining us today.

Liana Cantacuzino: Thanks for having me.

I heard you have a message for us.

Yes, I want to assure everyone out there that we are not abandoning our mission. My pandurs and I, we are still here, ready to protect them.

From vampires.

If the need arises, yes.

But not all vampires. Only the bad ones, right?

Indeed. We are changing our mission and are going to function as people’s police for vampires. We already have several training bases set up all over the world, and we’re accepting people on voluntary basis. Everyone has the right to learn how to defend oneself.

Couldn’t this cause more problems than help if everyone learns to fight, to kill?

Basic defense classes are available for everyone. However, for those who plan to stay in the service, we have in depth psychological testing planned before enlisting. Our goal is not to create mass murderers.

I’m glad we cleared that up. How does the Little Council feel about this globalization?

It’s hard after you’ve lived for generations with one goal in mind, but we need to keep up with the times. The world doesn’t stand still, and if we don’t evolve along with it, it will leave us behind.

But Romania will remain a vampire free country?

Yes, that won’t change.

Won’t it be confusing for the pandurs to face different sets of rules inside the country as opposed to abroad? I know this was a big concern of yours during the New Zealand trip.

We had no choice but to go on and hope for the best at the time, but now we can organize better. We’re actually considering training two separate kinds of troops, one for each territory, though the laws are changing in Romaania too, and soon we probably won’t be able to “kill on sight” anymore. It happens when you give equal rights to all people, humans as well as vampires.

Does it bother you?

Honestly? It’s how I’ve been raised so, yes, there are moments when it still bothers me. But I try to get over it because it’s the right thing to do. The math is simple. As long as you don’t hurt me, I won’t hurt you.

That sounds reasonable. And we all know you’re pretty skilled with that stake. Are you still training?

Not really. I mostly practice diplomacy these days. My field days are hopefully over.

Right, you’ve been on a world tour recently. How did that go?

It went rather well, thank you. I’ve met several interesting people in the countries I visited, and they showed interest in what I had to offer once we found a common ground.

The new breed threat.

Well, technically, the new breeds are extinct now, but yes.

Are all of them dead, really?

We certainly hope so. We still have patrols searching the continents, so even if one or two escaped, we’ll get them too.

What happened to Tawny?

What do you mean? I gave an order, and I expected it to be carried out accordingly.

But was it?

I don’t know, I wasn’t there. I can tell you, though, that Herve is alive and well in New Zealand.

You’re changing the subject, but okay. What about Max? Where is he these days?

Around. He’s taking a well deserved vacation, but I trust he will make himself available if we ever need him again.

You sound very confident. Are you sure he can be trusted?

Absolutely. We would have never made it without him, without his people. By forcing us to work, fight, and die together, he proved we could get along.

Won’t the Little Council have your head for making such a public statement?

A little over a year ago, maybe, but not today.

So, we talked about the war, the new breeds, the Little Council, our alliance with the vampires, and the famous Maximilien Hess. What else should we talk about. Where’s Jesse?

I believe he’s in the other room, fighting Max over snacks while waiting to be interviewed.

I take it I should get to it before murder happens?

I wouldn’t worry about it. They get along well, too well at times even.

But you are checking your watch.

We have tickets to the opera. Max doesn’t like to be late.

And we don’t want to upset him, I get it. Very well, I’ll wrap it up then. Is there anything else that you might like to add?

To all the vampires out there … keep your nose clean and don’t upset my people … because I’ll be watching.

Thank you, Liana.

Thank you too.

(Previously published on  Diane's Book Blog during The Impaler Legacy Omnibus blog tour.)

The Impaler Legacy Omnibus is available on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes.