NaNoWriMo project needs your vote!

Yes, for Bucharest this is me!

PENTRU CEI CARE NU INTELEG SUFICIENT ENGLEZA, tot îi rog de un vot pe link și să dea mai departe mesajul, pentru că așa obține fonduri proiectul NaNoWriMo, prin care tineri și adulți din toată lumea sunt încurajați să scrie… Votul se face deschizând fiecare filmuleț și apăsând pe VOTE în dreapta sus, după ce ați bifat că nu sunteți roboți (unde vă cere, că nu la toate mi-a cerut să jur că nu sunt robot.)

A message from NaNoWriMo leaders and from me, to all my friends and acquaintances who know how important NaNoWriMo project can be for a writer – already published or aspiring:
#Nanowrimo Project for Awesome has moved to February this year, and that means we don’t have as many people paying attention to us as we did when it was in the first weekend of December. Can you help us spread the word, to get out the vote? If you can share the post from the FB page to your group and share the voting page

on any other platforms in your region, that would be really helpful. Thank you!

Literary report 2020 and plans for 2021

Photo by Ione Peony on

Fellow-authors used to list all their literary activities in 2019 and plans for 2020. I did the same last year, and now I am keeping with the tradition.

NANOWRIMO:  I keep being the Local Municipal Liaison for Bucharest. It could have gone better, though. I won the two Camps, but not the November contest, where I succeeded only about 18,000 words. I tried my best in the given situation I had to adapt to, and I am glad that I succeeded at least to organize a few online writing sprints for the Romanian NaNoWriMo team, not only for the Bucharest one. There is no other wrap-up NaNoWriMo report, so this is the one – I just learnt to be content with small progress until I’ll be able to hold a writing sprint uninterrupted…

BOOK-RELATED TRAVEL:  armchair travel via books, videos and photos. I am stuck in my tower for a while, waiting for better days, not only for the pandemy reasons. But I researched intensively via Internet and books for my novels and short stories.

PUBLISHED THIS YEAR: No more books published this year, only short stories and a few poems, in literary magazines and anthologies, and blog articles here. But I am glad that the number of anthologies and literary magazines I am in has increased, so I guess it applies for being wider known….


  • Poetry prize at Brâncoveniana contest, in Potlogi Dâmbovița
  • First prize for short stories at the International Literary Contest Metafore – Ana Podaru
  • Third prize, respectively first mention for short stories at the festival Simfoniile verii (it was acceptable to enter with 2 short stories if both added up to 3 pages, and both won something)
  • Second prize for short stories at the festival Capriciile toamnei
  • Mention (fifth place) at the National Short Stories Contest Nicolae Velea 2020.


  • I am mentioned with a dedicated article in the Encyclopedia of 2000 generation writers
  • I got chronicles of my books in various literary magazines
  • I got recommendations of my books in book blogs
  • I succeeded to attend a few literary events
  • I succeeded to make myself known more in various reader groups
  • I have opened an Instagram account.


  • I want to publish a second edition, reviewed, of the series Life in turmoil (Vieți în vâltoare). It is now in 3 volumes, but it will be in 4 volumes, able to be read and enjoyed also individually. The review is in progress, two of the volumes were read by betta readers, two still need work.
  • I also want to publish 2 short stories collections as well, The old craftsman’s apprentice (Ucenicul bătrânului artizan) and another contemporary one, title still undecided.


  • To get my books more widely known
  • To learn about more literary contests and to participate in them.
  • To get more chronicles
  • To be able to get the documentation ready for submission to the National Writers Union.


I want to finish at least one and start another of the (4 or 5) volumes of a new pirate series, titled Gentlemen of fortune (since The price of freedom is a title others used too, so I had to find another). Also, each volume able to be read individually.

Keep gathering short stories in 2 more volumes, as they get published, one by one, in magazines – one to be titled Rebels of the seas and of the mountains, other with children stories – Stories with animals and fishes.


  • a sort of fan-fiction (of the publishable kind, even if not in the same genre and style as 50 Shades of Grey J and not sure if novel or novella) – continuation of something I love, up to you to guess what: the story of a young single mother who wants to start a new life, under another name, in another place, maybe pretending she is a widow in order to not have her baby called bastard… Also, up to you to guess in what country it is going to happen (easy if you guess what it might be a fanfiction from, but difficult if you take into account that in the movie it is just briefly hinted that the main characters might have slept together once, and this idea might have been skipped by most watchers – I got it only about the 14th time I watched the movie…) I might combine it with my idea of a May-December romance I had for a long time, so she might find an older man to raise her son with…
  • another Viking story, happening at the dawn of the Viking Era, around 750, if the Wanderers of the Seas (Pribegii marilor) happen at its end, around 1050. This time, also not necessarily told from a female perspective…
  • a sort of timetravel fantasy story which I still have to think over, a sequel to a roleplaying game dead long time ago (not mine).
  • and maybe another Venetian historical novel…

….But these are all surely for beyond 2021.

A pandemic NaNoWriMo edition

Photo session by Otilia Mazilu

Another NaNoWriMo is coming. This year, I am going to be a rebel, revising the fourth volume (well, fourth in the new edition, it was the third initially, when there were three altogether, but this will change, there will be four and the chapters will be somehow mixed from one to another in order to make the best sense chronologically and also to allow each volume to be read individually (in the initial version, the third was able to be read without the other, the second was not).

It is the second year I am a Municipal Leader for Bucharest, Romania, but it is the infamous year 2020, the year of the Pandemy… No in-person meet ups, everything online, less participation than ever in my area…

Let’s see how this will unfold! I doubt I am able to win, given that I am full time caregiver for my 91 years old mother, and I can’t focus much on writing, but every word written in November is more than there were before….

Good luck to everyone who is taking part in NaNoWriMo this November! I am offering you linked hereby Nathan Bradford’s tips for winning it:

Some of my previous NaNoWriMo related posts in English (the ones already linked to the 2019 post on this matter, because with the new block WordPress I can’t put written links like these below anymore, just the actual internet address):

Before my first NaNo, 2016, then NaNoWriMo 2016 conclusions and, with it, The fantastic five winnersNovember 2017Losing it in November 2018April 2019 camp

Another Camp NaNoWriMo behind us

Yes, I did it. I won this time too, even if the short stories volume has still a lot to get in order to be labelled as completed.

It happens mostly in Marseilles, around 2012, in a multi-ethnic neighbourhood with Arabic flavour, but there are stories which happen elsewhere too, in past times, and are told by one of the characters which happen to be then in Marseilles. Some of the stories previously written were already posted on this blog (and in some literary magazines).

The Executive Director of NaNoWriMo said, in his congratulations message, and I agree with this view:

It’s an achievement worth a drum roll and a few blaring trumpets, but when I proudly told a friend that I won, he said, “Haven’t you done that before?”

I said no. Every win is one-of-a-kind because every novel is one-of-a-kind. Every win is a statement against the malevolent forces of the blasé and the complacent. Every win is proof that you’re a glorious dreamer, a dreamer full of can-do gusto and ink-slinging magic.

This year was a strange adventure, I already had troubles focusing and I admit that I needed to adjust (downsize) my goal for this Camp (it was allowed). But I wrote every day, even if some days only one paragraph. I had also problems with one of the short stories, which had received a too harsh critique (“That’s bullshit! Cheap movies! Why do you feel called to tell exactly this story which isn’t yours to tell, instead of telling something closer to your surroundings?”). After this I couldn’t write to finish it (and therefore to continue the short story anthology, because, like for the Mercenary volume, the stories are connected between them) for 8 months.

I have researched more in the meanwhile, and I am convinced she isn’t right. And this Camp NaNo made me progress with it and write some other stories in that series. It will get finished, ultimately!

Movies tell stories which might happen, or might have happened once. Why that exception wouldn’t be my case too? And I feel called to research and tell the story which gets alive in my brain, wanting out – this one had been alive for 30 years (and it got written in a certain form then, but it needed rewritten and transformed from a mediocre novella into a cherry-picked short stories collection). I write only the stories which inspire me, and I research thoroughly for each of them.

I got confirmed that certain death-facing situations can change a person’s way of thinking, certain beliefs he used to have proving wrong (at least in his mind), like an atheist or non-believer turning to God or even becoming fanatic, because only God had saved him from death, or a young soldier seeing the real horrors of war for the first time and becoming a pacifist.

It is also true that nobody can tell everything about how a brain function, and PTSD is different from a person to another in its symptoms or triggers. As we saw in a movie inspired from the truth of a Christmas truce in 1916, two (in my case, more in the movie) young enemy soldiers like my characters can fraternize, in certain special, life-threatening conditions where they are alone, just them two, for a few dangerous days. Survival gets primordial, then, getting to know each other, they might discover they as humans have more points in common than the thing which sets them at odds, namely the idea they are fighting for.

These are the premises the central story is based on, and someone in authority who called it bullshit (as if knowing more about the subject, since she is a lady who had never written about war or anything related to it) instead of providing constructive criticism, had succeeded to do enough harm until now. I am glad that I have recovered, due to this NaNo adventure. Nothing is perfect, and some texts might be worse than others. But the stories within us are the ones which have to succeed, to get out and get shape in words…

Four short stories finished and sent to magazines and contests, other two almost finished and ideas for more – these are the results of this Camp like no other.

April Camp NaNoWriMo

Camp Nano

I kept wanting to write about it since the 1-st of April, when it started. I succeeded only now, at half- time. I failed again as a Municipal Leader, since there is no Bucharest group really active (well, there are two people writing besides me, if it counts…) and it seems I am not good at mobilizing people, either.

I don’t like that for revisions (what Camps are mostly for) we are forced to choose words as target, not pages or hours, which might be more appropriate. I pledged 15,000 words, but I knew from the beginning I’ll be cheating, not having any other solution. It should have meant newly written words, while during a revision one might revise already written words and not writing as many new words for a volume. I would have chosen 200 pages, as the volume to be revised has.

Anyway, I have already finished the volume to review and sent it to betta readers this morning. I will do another one this month (or as much possible from that one). In the meanwhile, there would be also 2 short stories written up to the end of the month, so I keep being productive.

The two volumes I am working on during Camp NaNo (only one declared, in fact, but, as I told you, there will be two) are part of the Lives in Turmoil series, initially in 3 volumes, which for the second, revised edition will be in 4 volumes able to be read individually as well – 2 already reviewed, 2 to go… One more during this Camp NaNo, the other afterwards, as with that I have a bit more to work in order to make it able to be read individually.

The revision work involved, besides the identification of repeated words (I swear I have a richer vocabulary than some of my writings unfortunately show!), changing how the volumes start (in media res, with the backstory woven afterwards into the story), splitting differently the story into volumes and, for the last two volumes, streamlining a little the timeline.

Then, the work in finding a new publishing house for them would start…

These are the three volumes of the initial edition:

Alte valtori Otilia Mazilu2

NaNoWriMo la jumătate

Day 15 writing badge.jpg

Au fost 15 zile de scris neîntrerupt, într-adevăr, la ÎNGERUL CU SABIE, deși fără spor. Abia am depășit 10.000 de cuvinte, ceea ce înseamnă cu siguranță că nu voi câștiga anul acesta concursul. Ei, și ce? Am reușit să scriu în fiecare zi, fie și 200 cuvinte, dacă nu s-a putut mai mult. În alți ani, se va putea, fără stress și greutăți de genul care șterg inspirația din minte. Și, cu siguranță, întotdeauna termin ceea ce am început, chiar dacă mai târziu decât ar fi trebuit.

M-am oprit, temporar, din roman pentru a corecta, în zilele de 16-17, pentru bun de tipar, ediția a doua din ECHIPAJUL, astfel încât să am câteva volume expuse la GAUDEAMUS, la standul Uniunii Ellene. (Da, sunt acolo!)

Da, știți că de anul acesta sunt și coordonator local NaNoWriMo. Am reușit să ne întâlnim de două ori până acum, câțiva care încearcă pentru prima dată și cu mine.

În prima duminică a lunii, am fost cinci magnifici, la ceainăria Bohemia Tea House. E treaba lor să spună dacă le-a plăcut sau nu – că, între timp, una dintre ele, Simona, s-a hotărât să se retragă, până la anul, considerându-se nepregătită pentru o astfel de încercare.

NaNofive magnificent 2019-11-03

Da, după cum vedeți, există și un sultan printre cadâne!

Aceasta a fost trusa inițială oferită participanților – calendarul, un mini-extemporal hazliu de 5 minute, care să ne încălzească atmosfera, un volum de proză scurtă – cine scrie și perseverează, poate ajunge să și publice!) și, pentru stimularea inspirației, ceai și ciocolată. Totul, cu multă dragoste și cu răbdarea de a răspunde la întrebări de diverse genuri.NaNo goodie bag 2019-11-03

A doua întâlnire, cam matinală, ne-a găsit în număr mai restrâns, însă la fel de entuziaști. Am discutat despre progresul fiecăruia, Mihai ne-a citit o povestire SF amuzantă și ne-am spus părerea, eu i-am invitat pe 24 la Gaudeamus, la lansarea noului meu volum de proză scurtă.

Bucharest Nano Pauls 2019-11-10

Sperăm să ne întâlnim din nou la începutul lunii decembrie, în număr mai mare, să sărbătorim câștigătorii! Nu voi fi printre ei, nu pot face față, în condițiile actuale, unui ritm creativ susținut.

Vă ofer, totuși, un citat din Îngerul cu Sabie:

Don Guillen, un om de vreo patruzeci de ani, nou venit la bord, avea propriile temeri. Încă nu știa sigur ce să creadă despre echipajul de pirați în care nimerise. Semnase articolele; îi surâdea să aibă o parte și jumătate, dacă expedițiile se dovedeau cu succes. În afara faptului că toți erau egali, ceea ce i se părea curios, și că avea de tratat negri, indieni și albi de toate națiile, inclusiv o femeie, cei care discutaseră cu el, în spaniolă ori franceză, păruseră să nu se deosebească cu mult de ofițerii de cart, cu care își petrecea timpul liber pe navele pe care servise înainte. Gândindu-se drept, regulamentul piraților părea mai blând… dar libertatea putea avea un preț, în ștreang. Riscuri și avantaje… Auzise că pirații erau cruzi, neciopliți, mincinoși, în toate felurile. Ce citise în articolele înțelegerii semnate și ce văzuse după terminarea luptei nu se reflecta așa. Rămânea de văzut dacă se va adapta printre ei.

De la o vreme, grijile îi căpătară nuanțe noi. Ce putere avea navigatorul acesta la bord, de-și convinsese căpitanul să-l lase să ajute la infirmerie? Nici don Alfonso, nici alt căpitan dintre cei mulți sub care navigase în vreo zece ani de când alesese marea, nu ar fi acceptat așa ceva. (E drept, nici piloții sau asistenții acestora nu s-ar fi oferit, nepricepându-se. Acesta, măcar, îi dovedise că putea fi, practic, de ajutor – și apoi, era direct interesat, femeia lui numărându-se printre răniți.)

Cum să-i spună unui iubit atent că aleasa lui va muri în curând? Dacă îl va costa și pe el viața, această îndrăzneală? Mai ales că-i auzise pe ceilalți numindu-l Ange au Sabre, deși tânărul se prezentase, simplu, Angel.

Din păcate, văzuse suficienți răniți cu fierbințeala irlandezei. Rana nu i se vindeca bine. Avea, înăuntru, umori otrăvite. Prinseseră plămânul. Doctorul făcuse tot ce știa ca să echilibreze umorile și s-o scape. Îi lăsase sânge, îi dăduse purgative, degeaba. Starea femeii se înrăutățea. Iubitul ei se încăpățâna să spere, să nege inevitabilul. Putea fi el cel care să-l aducă la realitate?

Ieși puțin pe punte, la aer. Se lăsa amurgul. Spre norocul lui, căpitanul, căruia îi jurase credință de curând, era și el acolo. Îl salută, după care îl întrebă:

– Când ajungem la destinație?

– În funcție de vânt, în două –trei zile ancorăm în Basse Terre. Cum se simt răniții?

– Mă tem că mai pierdem doi zilele astea. Femeia rănită în plămân și băiatul căruia a trebuit să-i tăiem piciorul nu rezistă, șopti el, sperând să fie auzit doar de căpitan. Iar dumneavoastră aflați primul, adăugă. Am făcut tot ce am putut. Dumnezeu are lista lui…

Sol se prinse de balustradă, de parcă vestea tristă ar fi fost gata să-l dărâme. Știa că niciun om nu poate șterge, nici adăuga, pe lista aceea, un nume scris în cer. Dar una era să moară omul pe loc, în luptă, și alta după câteva zile de negocieri cu cea cu coasa. I se părea o moarte urâtă, la fel de urâtă ca cea datorată unei molime.

NaNoWriMo tips – not only for beginners

Day 1 writing badge.jpg

Yes, I started writing today. But what I am copying below is from Nathan Bransford, a writer and former literary agent, to be used by everyone doing NaNoWriMo this year!

Are you ready for National Novel Writing Month? Are you sure?

As always, the best advice I have for writing a novel is in my guide to writing a novel, the second edition of which is now available in print, e-book, and audio. But if you need to cram, here are some posts that might help.

Getting started

Tips for that pesky middle


Staying productive (and sane)

Are you doing NaNoWriMo? Are you feeling ready?

Need help with your book? I’m available for manuscript edits, query critiques, and consultations!

And if you like this post: subscribe to my newsletter and check out my newly revised and updated guide to writing a novel now available in audio!

The post Tips for #NaNoWriMo 2019 appeared first on Nathan Bransford | Writing, Book Editing, Publishing.

NaNoWriMo is starting tomorrow!

NaNo Municipal Liaison.jpg

NaNoWriMo is starting tomorrow.  This year, I have been appointed Local Municipal Liaison for Bucharest. I hope to succeed to co-ordinate the meetings and make them happen, to create a united group – more united even than the previous years, when I loved it.

I am nervous, what if I can’t succeed with it? What if the task is bigger than me?

This month’s project is finishing the novel I started at my first NaNo, in 2016. Yes, I always finish what I start, just that, in some cases, it takes some time (when other writings are higher priority, for a reason or another – since November 2016, I have published 7 books, and 2 more are coming until the end of the year. Out of these 9 all, at least 5, if not more, have been edited, finished, polished or written entirely during NaNoWriMo events  – Novembers, Aprils ad Julys). It is a historical adventure, focusing on the Golden Age of Pyracy – in the time, but not in the style of Black Sails (neither Pirates of the Caribbean). If In November 2016 I titled it THE PRICE OF FREEDOM, now I know it is the title of the whole series, planned to have at least 4 independent volumes (if not 6). The first volume will be titled SWORD ANGEL, and the second, which I think I’ll start this November, SWORN BROTHERS.

More information about all the event, later during the month… or at its end.

Previous NaNoWriMo related posts in English:

Before my first NaNo, 2016, then NaNoWriMo 2016 conclusions and, with it, The fantastic five winnersNovember 2017Losing it in November 2018April 2019 camp

Previous NaNoWriMo related posts in Romanian (comprising, i.a., quotes from the writing in progress):

Noiembrie 2016, Noiembrie 2016Noiembrie 2017 , Noiembrie 2017Aprilie 2018iulie 2018noiembrie 2018Concluzii utile decembrie 2018

At the end of April Camp NaNoWriMo


I won another Camp NaNo. The fourth won in my Camp history. (There was one, in April 2017, epically lost too).  I wrote, now, 20,300 words, and the novel is at about 104 pages, which means more or less half of it. I first chose 20,000 words as the target, then I lowered it at 15,000, due to a slow start of the month. I thought I would never manage 20,000, maybe not even the 15,000 finally pledged, but I succeeded.

The reasons for a slow April? Always April is harder on me, because there are more days when I can’t write, due to being my birthday, my mother’s birthday (this year the 90-th!) and Easter – which comes with cleaning, shopping and cooking for 2 households. Adding doctor’s appointments for me and for my mother… and tiredness… it doesn’t make for a good writing environment. And lately I can’t plan writing time like I used to, because in any moment there might be a small emergency requesting my presence far from the computer/ laptop…. or I might be too tired or too loaded with negativity to be able to focus on writing.

However, I succeeded to unblock “The second shuttle boat”, which had been lying in a coma since a very eventful November. I progressed nicely, and I hopefully keep progressing in May and June, in order to have another long-time-stalled novel to finish during Camp NaNo in July. (That got started during my first NaNoWriMo, in November 2016, and it is still in coma).

As they didn’t give us a diploma this time, this is the proof that I am a winner:

Camp NaNo April2019 win.jpg

About writing

Fantasy Sub-genres


am a writer.  It’s hard wired into my brain and my mitochondria.  My bones are made of calcified plotlines and my blood is the emotional juice of every character that I’ve ever written who has dripped angst onto the page.

(Tracy Cooper Posey)