Call for betas for a cyberpunk novel

I believe I have done all the edits I could think of on Through Stranger Eyes, my current WIP. It’s time for others to have a look at it and identify all the mistakes I have failed to spot. No doubt they’re plenty and will keep me busy for a while. But for me to improve the manuscript, I need you.

So, I’m asking for beta readers willing to take a plunge into my dark futuristic world, into the fears and hopes of Dr Rick Stensladnt (my main character). To try to figure out with him why his life took such a bad turn all of the sudden, who’s behind everything.

Through Stranger Eyes is a 132k word cyberpunk mystery/suspense about Dr Rick Stenslandt who, despite the fact he augments people with advanced cybernetic implants (as is the norm in his world), he refuses to have even the simplest implant in him. Though a purist at heart, he will have to stray from his convictions when an accident deprives him of his sight, and is forced to have an ocular implant. Things take a strange turn for him after the operation, as Rick begins remembering the deaths of influential people, whom he has never met before, deaths that have taken place years earlier. Driven to find out what is happening to him and why, he will risk losing everything that matter in his life; his social status, his sanity, his family, his life.

You may ask, what is Cyberpunk?

“Trying to define Cyberpunk is a difficult task. In short, however, Cyberpunk refers to both a culture and a genre.

Cyberpunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that features advanced science and technology in an urban, dystopian future. On one side you have powerful mega-corporations and private security forces, and on the other you have the dark and gritty underworld of illegal trade, gangs, drugs, and vice. In between all of this is politics, corruption, and social upheaval.

High tech. Low life.” (Definition taken from

Though not a prerequisite, often noir style of narration is employed (again, not all the times). I have tried using this kind of narrative.

If this still doesn’t shine any light (understandable, since the world is gritty and dark), consider the film Blade Runner as the epitome of what a cyberpunk world might look like. That’s one side of the cyberpunk spectrum. The Matrix is also cyberpunk, though with a lot of other subgenres thrown in. If you haven’t watched either of these films, and you’re into anime, then Ghost in the Shell and Akira are the first ones that come to mind (if you know more, please let me know. I’m not into anime, but I really like cyberpunk). In terms of books, William Gibson’s, Neuromancer, and my favourite, Richard K. Morgan’s Takeshi Kovacs novels, particularly Altered Carbon. If that also doesn’t help, have a look at my pinterest board, designed specifically for this book.

So if any of you have read or watched any of the above and liked them, you’ll feel right at home (hopefully). If not, but you are willing to read an early work (or as early as any work can be after more than a year of editing and fine tuning), if you don’t mind answering long questionnaires about the book, if you are the kind of reader who understands that the only way to help a writer and his/her work is by being brutally honest and point out as many mistakes as you find (and the occasional praise for the things you liked), then please let me know. And if you’re concerned whether or not you’ll hand it back in time, I usually give two months minimum for the readers, because, well, life happens for all of us. After all, I’m not the speediest reader and I’m known to have taken a long time to return a manuscript (hi Yoann!). So, if you want to help, don’t worry about time. We can always extend the time frame.

A few people – people whose opinion I trust, and whose help I value – have already offered to help me. I’m eternally grateful to each and every one of them. Some aren’t writers, just readers. Others are writers (more skilful than I am) who write in different genres, yet their comments is almost always accurate. Some have a keen eye for details and are more editing-oriented, others see the whole picture and comment based on that. Whatever your skill level, whether you write or not, if you want to help me, please leave a comment or let me know in any other way (use email, twitter, facebook, pinterest etc). Those of you who have already agreed obviously don’t have to do it again, but if I’ve forgotten to contact you personally (I apologise, but lots of things are happening, some health-related issues with close family members), please message me and let me know of your availability.

Please be advised, that Through Stranger Eyes has some adult themes and imagery, as well as mild foul language (in other words, it conforms to most genre standards). Just a heads up 🙂

Thank you all very much!

Second short story now available

My short story titled When Hades Felt is now available for everyone to read. It’s a story where a wife’s death triggers events in her husband’s life, after a woman dressed in black shows up at his doorstep, claiming to be able to do the impossible (this sentence was actually the pitch/hook I used in my cover letter, by the way). You can find it at but please, have a look at the stories, poems and essays the other authors have contributed or read some of the other stuff the magazine has to offer from past issues. I should also warn you that the story is just over 5000 words long, so it may be time-consuming. I should also point out that I write dark-ish fantasy, perhaps borderline with horror (though I’m not experienced with the Horror genre), so since the editor’s description of the story in their main page is “dark and disturbing”, this story may not be your cup of tea. I just hope that by ‘disturbing’ the editor meant ‘depressing’ rather than ‘annoying’, lol 😛

Also, it’s one of the toughest stories I ever tackled and the only one so far that I had to re-write entire sections (namely, the whole last scene). And by rewriting I mean deleting and never looking back at thousands upon thousands of words; if I remember correctly, I rewrote it more than 5 times. Even now that I read the published story, I still frown at a few points. You’ll be the judge of whether the story is good or not. All I know is that even though it’s only been 7  months since I wrote it, my style has changed considerably since then.

This is also sort of a milestone for me, as this is the first story I got paid for and although it’s only a token payment, it’s still the first one. Hopefully, others will follow as well.

Other than that, in a month or two I expect my other short story, the one that inspired me to write the novel I’m currently working on, to be published by Voluted Tales, an Australian literary magazine.

I had to withdraw my fourth story from the magazine I had sent it for review, since they never responded to my follow-up emails. I think the magazine may have stopped operating. So, off to make some more edits to that story and find a new home for it.

If you have any comments about it, please don’t hesitate to post them below in the comment section.

Progress Report

It’s been a while since I gave you a progress report on my work so far. If I remember correctly, it was on August 31st and it was around 73k words. So here’s how much I’ve written so far: 94500 words. It’s clear now that I will exceed my originally planned word limit. The good news is that the first 10 chapters will have to be condensed into 2 or maybe 3. There are 2 scenes with dream-like memories in them where we learn a few things about the main character but they will be placed between later chapters. A daunting effort, no doubt. “Murder your darlings” is the saying, right? Well, I’ll show them 😛 The reason for such a huge need to remove so many chapters is that my inciting moment takes place at chapter 10. It was a great blunder I made, as I tried to set the character, his relation to the rest of the world (which amounts to one and only family) and, the most important for the story as I saw it then, to show the fear the survivors of the Darkening experience and how the main character experiences it. I think I over did it… Alas, we can only learn from our mistakes. I just hope that when those  revisions and edits, the result will be a less boring story for the reader (the things we do for you, dead reader, lol) without failing to show the ever-present dangers the survivors have to face.

Heat has dropped considerably here in Greece and I can once again use the PC for a few hours. Slowly, but steadily I’m getting back to reaching my old word limit of 2000 words per day. I started by getting into the habit of writing 1500 words daily but the past couple of days I was able to write 2000 words in matter of 3 hours, so that’s good news. If everything goes as planned, I will have completed the first draft by November, at which point I will put it away and not think about it for at least 1 month, if not 2. Then I’ll roll my sleeves and get it edited, hopefully with a beta-reader (that’s another problem I will have to tackle – to find beta readers).

Finally, as you may have seen already, I made some changes to the blog’s layout today. New theme, deleted a page (removed the one about the ideas) and corrected the goodreads widget. Comment below if you can’t find something or if I forgot to add a widget from the old theme or just to tell me if you like the new layout.