April 18, 2014

Easter Traditions in my country, Romania

Easter is one of the most important celebrations of Christianity, commemorating the moment when Jesus came back from the dead. Romanians start preparing for this special day long before the day itself as  Lent lasts for 48 days. During these days people go to church, many of them give up meat, eggs, or dairy products. It’s  considered a ritual of purification for both the body and soul.

In my country, the symbol of this celebration is the  red Easter egg. Eggs, in general, were a traditional symbol of fertility, and rebirth

Why do we paint the Easter eggs in red? It is said that when Virgin Mary came to cry for her crucified son, she placed a basket of eggs under the Cross. The eggs turned red as a symbol of the blood that flowed from the wounds of Jesus, and since then we paint Easter eggs. At first, the eggs were painted only in red, but later we started painting them in many colors, including green, yellow, orange, blue, and even black.
On the night before Easter, Romanians put on new clothes and go to church. At midnight, everyone lights a candle from the priest’s candle. The light from these candles symbolizes the return of Jesus from the dead. It’s a very special moment and the sight of hundreds of candles in the night can take your breath away.

At dawn, after attending the religious service, everyone goes home, carefully holding their candle. On Easter morning we wash our faces with water from a bowl , into which we put a red egg and a coin. It is said that if you wash your face with this water, you will be healthy and beautiful – just like an Easter egg.

Even after Easter is over, there are some words that can be heard on the streets for weeks to come. When a person sees a friend or family for the first time after Easter has passed, the normal introduction is skipped and the first person says, “Cristos a inviat (Christ has risen).” The second person responds by saying, “Adevarat a inviat (Indeed, he has risen).” This verbal exchange is very much part of the celebration and is a way for people to remind each other of the importance of Easter even after the holiday is over.
Wishing all my awesome followers, bloggers and fellow authors, who celebrate Easter this Sunday, a sunny spring with lots of joy and accomplishments!

April 14, 2014

Review (XXVI)

5.0 out of 5 stars Shadows of the Past, February 27, 2014
By Hotcha (Glen Carbon, IL, United States)
This review is from: Shadows of the Past (Kindle Edition)
Anne got home earlier than expected only to find her business partner and her boyfriend sleeping together! Gillian was stunning and could have any man so why had she picked Neil?

After a two year separation. Anne decided to give Neil another chance and agreed to a holiday, but they were lost in the words, and she had visions about a red headed woman that looked remarkably like her..............

Ms. Stefanescu spins an intriguing about a nun and a priest falling in love and an evil Abbess reeking havoc on the sisters of St. Mary's! Geneieve was the only survivor of her family when her father went crazy and killed her mother and her siblings and if she'd not went to help for her younger brother, she'd be dead as well. She had never been on her own before, yet she had no home since it had burnt leaving only ashes of her family raining down on her.

April 12, 2014

Writing Tips (I)

The Query Letter
Reblogged from:

  The Query letter. No, really–it is not an evil device of torture sent from the writing Gods just to make you suffer. Okay, well it might be, but the ability to write a good query letter is also an integral part of any writer’s repertoire.

It is difficult to write a captivating and effective query letter that will not only command the attention of an agent/editor, but also shed light on your fiction/non-fiction project and make them care enough about your protagonist/story/piece that they want to see the entire manuscript. Imagine condensing a 100,000 word book into a query letter of less than 200 words…wait…where are you going…I’m not trying to scare you. I’m trying to explain how to do this without tearing out your hair.

The first part of the query letter:
Depending on whom you ask, a standard query letter will either have 3 or 4 essential parts, also depending on what type of work you are presenting and your personal preference. An outstanding query should include the following:
The introduction, or opening lines:
You only have one chance to make a first impression. This is a common enough phrase and also very true when it comes to a situation where your first hand-shake must be done via paper or electronic media. It is somewhat of a disadvantage to not have the ability to make eye-contact and use your presence when trying to command attention. Still, there is no reason why you cannot exude confidence and let your personality shine through when presenting yourself via the written word.

It may seem like a good idea to use a crazy hook at this point in the query. You want to stand out, right? Asking a rhetorical question or being silly will land your letter in the dust bin. Guaranteed. The agent/editor is busy. They are looking at your query letter to find out basic information about your book. Is it interesting? Is it marketable? Does it have the potential to turn a profit? What makes it unique?

You should begin this section with a brief introduction of yourself and your work. If you have any relevant credits to your name, use them. By relevant, I do not mean “I am a stay-at-home mum and this is my first book.” I mean: “I was a journalist with the Chicago Sun Times for 13 years and have also published previously with-” Relevant information that supports your ability to write well and handle business is all the personal info you should include. You should also include the genre, title and word count of your manuscript at this point.
Example of poor query opening:
Dear Editor or Agent, –Always address queries to a specific person.

What would you do if you were abandoned by your husband in the middle of nowhere?–Beginning with a broad and general question like this detracts attention away from the point in your inquiry. My name is Jane Doe and I have been a nurse for 20 years. Please consider my teen romance where you can find out the answer to my above question.–Unless she is writing a book on nursing in some fashion, her job is irrelevant. She does not give anything other than her genre.
Example of a well-written query opening:
Dear Mr. Waltham, –Query addressed to specific person.

I found your agency on “AgentSearch.com” and noted that you are currently open to submissions from speculative fiction authors. After reading your guidelines,–She has noted where she found his listing and let him know that she read and put some thought into the agency’s guidelines before submitting. it is my belief that you may be interested in my novel “The Whispering Brook,” a speculative fiction novel of 55,000 words.–Book title and length included. My book is about a woman in a small Eastern village who must teach her people to trust conventional medicine in order to save the lives of children during a diphtheria outbreak.–A little preview of the book without going into too much detail. Your synopsis will be in the next portion, so this does not need to be detailed. I have a history of small press publishing and have won a couple of awards for my fiction entries in national contests. –Credits that are relevant to fiction writing and support her cause.
* you may choose to refrain from mentioning credits until the third part of your query, the author bio. I personally, enjoy reading queries that give a hint of any expertise the author in question may have, right up front.

This concludes the opening of the query letter. Please stay tuned next week for part 2: the synopsis.

Here are some things to keep in mind until then:

Double and triple check your query for spelling and grammar errors. There is never a more critical time to avoid making these mistakes than when you are trying to impress your abilities as a writer upon an editor/agent.

Ensure that you have spelled the name of the person you are addressing as well as the name of the agency correct. There are so many uncommon spellings that it is easy to address something to “John” instead of “Jon.”

Remember to include your contact information. Epic fail if you expect an editor or agent to take the time to look you up.

The best query letter in the world does not guarantee you a win, but it can’t hurt.

April 7, 2014

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: Best Method for Handling Rejections (and getting p...

Originally posted at:
Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: Best Method for Handling Rejections

Best Method for Handling Rejections (and getting published)

Nobody likes to be rejected. Even the most seasoned, thick-skinned, successful writers hate getting rejections.

Unfortunately, for aspiring authors rejection isn't just a passing disappointment - it's a way of life.

As a writer, you can count on getting hundreds of rejections. And - I hate to say this - your hundredth rejection will sting just as much as the first.

At some point, you will be tempted to throw in the towel.

Don't do it. Try my foolproof method instead.

The method

Before I explain my tried-and-true method for handling rejections, I have to preface it with the admonition that it will take a little organizational work on your part. Ideally, you should do this before you start submitting your work. After all, you want to avoid as much pain as possible. Of course, if you have already started submitting your work and are in the throes of an existential crisis, it still isn't too late.

1) Make a 'top 50 list.' Find 50 places to submit your work and rank them in order of desirability. (For example, if you are submitting a story, the top slot could be the New Yorker.)

If you are submitting a short story, go here, and find 50 literary magazines. 

If you are submitting query letters to agents, go to Agentquery and make a list of 50 agents for your genre. (Be sure to check the Agents Seeking Clients page.)

Resources for Science Fiction/Fantasy writers are here.

Resources for Children's and YA writers are here.

Resources for Romance writers are here.

Resources for Mystery/Thrillers are here.
Read the whole post on Erica's page: