Category Archives: Writing

These are posts where I share myself as a writer.

Happy Spring 2021

My little Martisori treasure chest (Image courtesy of the author)


I am taking a little break from my series of blog posts and readings from my books today to honor a Moldovan tradition — Moldova is where I originally come from — and to wish you a happy Spring!


Mărțișor — A beautiful Moldova tradition

We celebrate this day by giving little signs of love and friendship to members of our families, friends, teachers, and colleagues. These small tokens are called Mărțișori (singular: Mărțișor). In the picture above, you can see my current collection. Some of them I got from my family and especially my sister — she once brought a whole bag of them for me to share and keep. The other I made myself over the years and kept one from each year’s collection as a token to remember and maybe to reproduce at another time.

Here is how Wikipedia defines Mărțișor:

Mărțișor (mərt͡siˈʃor) is a celebration at the beginning of spring, on March the 1st in Romania, Moldova, and all territories inhabited by Romanians.”

I featured this tradition in my first book, a novel based on a true story of my late father, Mihail Ichizli, The Truth About Family:

” I remembered well how we would all sit together braiding red and white threads into strings, and making little men and women or flowers from the same wool to bind to the ends of the strings. We would give these special talismans, or little Marches, to each other and the teachers on the first of March. Our teachers would have a host of Mărţişori decorating their jackets and sweaters for the whole month.”


This year’s Mărțișor project

In the past years, I created various designs for the Mărțișori I gave as little gifts to my family. This year, I tried something different and turned it into a little art project. I took a coloring block of postcards and colored only some of the fields with red color, leaving all other white. Then I added one or two Mărțișori on each card.

Here is the result:

This year’s Martisor project/art (Image courtesy of the author)


Capture your family traditions in a story

We all have these beautiful traditions from where we come from. If you ever considered writing a memoir or a fictional story based on your family’s or your own story, then I invite you to feature those traditions inside. They will add color to your creations and bring light to the whole story.


If you need help

Sometimes it can be daunting to start a project featuring your family’s or your story. A memoir can appear daunting to write. I feared writing one for many years, although the wish was significant.

A novel based on a true story might get you going. It did help me. The Truth About Family was a blessing to write; it healed many wounds and brought my mother and me even closer together.

Whatever style you choose, here are a couple of resources that can help you:


If you would like to work with me to help make your memoir or novel describing a personal to you story a reality, you can reach out to discuss how we can collaborate through one of the channels listed on my contact page.

If you are interested in checking out my experience with writing memoirs and novels based on a true story, then take a look at these:


Happy Spring

All there is to say now is to wish you Happy Spring 2021! We all need the hope the Spring seems to bring with it in these insecure times.

Here’s the little Mărțișor picture I created for my mother this year. And here it is for you!

Happy Spring and Happy Mărțișor!

Martisor, the symbol of the Spring (Image courtesy of the author)

One Minute Read from the Cheerleading for Writers


Here is the ninth blog post in a series featuring videos on YouTube, where I read from one of my motivational books for one minute.

In this video, I read from my book Cheerleading for Writers: Discover How Truly Talented You Are.

I am reading from the chapter with the title “S – Show Me What You’ve Got (or How a Writer Can Serve Others Without Putting Too Much Pressure on Herself).”

Here it is if you want to read along, prior, or afterward.


Excerpt from the Cheerleading for Writers

As with almost any book on writing and its various facets, this one will also address the aspects of showing and telling. But it will approach show and tell from another angle.
During the first three years of my writing career and especially recently, I have come to realize that I joined an exotic species of the working population.

We, writers, want to write books that we would want to read. On the other hand, we also want others to love them.

Or we write motivational guide books to pull ourselves out of initially hopeless situations. At the same time, hoping these books will pull other people out of their miseries too.

What is interesting, though, is that whether others read our works or not, people survive without them. No one seems to need what we do for their daily and most urgent needs.


A big surprise

Two days ago, I got a big surprise in my inbox. An author I follow has featured Cheerleading for Writers on his blog. This author is the New York Times bestselling author, John David Mann. He is co-author of many fantastic books, including the Go-Giver series with Bob Burg. Here is what he has written about this little book in his blog post titled “NINE RESOURCES TO ROCK YOUR WRITING” about resources he strongly recommends for writers, which include such legendary books as Stephen King’s On Writing and Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird:

Cheerleading for Writers: Discover How Truly Talented You Are, by Victoria Ichizli-Bartels. This little book doesn’t lecture you; it holds your hand, brews you a cup of fresh hot tea, whispers in your ear, and reminds you of all the good things you should know about yourself. It also offers dozens of nuggets of writerly wisdom along the way, in twenty-six bite-sized pieces, A through Z.”


The next step

We all need a little cheering up and holding our hands from time to time. I am super happy that this little book can provide such comfort to writers. So I invite you to read Cheerleading for Writers and discover what it can do for you. To look at the book and buy it on Amazon, click on its title above or this image below:


If you want to see where else you can buy it, then go to the book’s page on this website here.

Alternatively, you can subscribe to my page, Optimist Writer, on ko-fi for $5 a month, and besides supporting what I do, you will also get access to all my motivational books, which I share there once a month or each time a book is out. Right now, you can get access to four of my books there — one upon subscription or one-time support and three in the posts solely for subscribers. Cheerleading for Writers will appear later this year or sooner upon explicit request from the subscribers.

I wish you a beautiful, cheerful, and also gameful day!

A Gameful Merry Christmas 2019 and a Happy Gameful Year 2020!!!

Christmas decorations in Aalborg, Denmark

Since I last shared my news in “Self-Gamification News by Optimist Writer” on November 15, 2019, many things happened.

First, on a personal level: In my family, we celebrated three birthdays and one birth: the birth of my second grand-niece (who visited us on the very first day of her life!), my mom’s, my daughter’s, and my birthdays. I also attended many Christmas themed events at my children’s school and kindergarten.

These brought many colors to the past month, enriched by what happened at work.

Beside finishing writing another book, this one on how to navigate various health conditions gamefully, I started the first revision of this latest book. I also started working on a compressed version of the Self-Gamification Happiness Formula.

And among that and a consulting project, as well as planning for several events on Self-Gamification to take place in Aalborg next year, there has been an extraordinary experience I made.

I attended my very first gamification conference ever. That was Gamification Europe 2019 that took place in Berlin, on December 9 and 10, 2019 (with a pre-event on December 8). I met many fantastic and inspiring people, played many fun games (including stone-paper-scissors twice in a room with other hundred plus people), and tested LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®. I even spoke at the panel discussion, which addressed the dynamics between those who produce gamification solutions and their customers.

It was my very first gamification conference, but I felt like I have known the organizers and many of the participants for a very long time. I highly recommend all who are interested in gamification to join future Gamification Europe annual events and hope to participate in as many of them as possible myself. If you would like to get an idea about this year’s Gamification Europe, I recommend reading the brilliant blog post with the impressions from the event by Albert van der Meer, author of the Press Start – Using Gamification to Power-up Your Marketing.

And the last in this short Newsletter comes the reminder of the two discounts currently running:

The prices will go back to normal after the holiday season, so please make sure you secure your copy and let your friends and colleagues know so that they can profit from these books too.

I’ll have more to report already in the first months of the next year.

Until then I wish you:

A Gameful Merry Christmas 2019 and a Happy Gameful Year 2020!!!

P.S. Don’t forget to forget (:D) making New Year’s resolution and instead turn whatever you are up to into fun games, the Self-Gamification way.

P.P.S. I collected 50 out of 70 possible stars in the Gamification Europe week (with max 10 stars for each day). How many stars or badges in your self-motivational games did you collect this week?

Free Book Promotion – All My Fiction Books


Most of my books in the ebook format are now available exclusively with Amazon. Amazon has a great feature of free and discounted promotions. That, and chatting with my friends about my books today, gave me an idea to run such a promotion for all my fiction books so that if any of the stories appeal to you, you can get it, or all of them, for free as your summer read.

You can get the ebooks you see above for free from Wednesday, July 3, 2019, 12:00 AM PDT to Sunday, July 7, 2019, 11:59 PM PDT.

Please share the news with your friends in case they might be interested in these genres of books.

Here are the links to each of the books on

And here is the link to the free Kindle App, which you can install on any device of your preferences if you don’t have it yet:

I hope you enjoy the books and your summer holidays!

With best wishes,


The Truth About Family in 3D

“What age were you when you got to the first orphanage? You said you were at two different ones, correct?”

“Yes, and I don’t really know. The first pictures I have are from 1953, I think. Yes, here.” I shuffled through the photographs spread on the table and picked up the ones I meant and showed them to Vanea. “They were taken in Volontirovka. And by the time they were taken, I think I had been there quite a while already.”

“Yes. I saw them.” Vanea took the pictures from me.

He looked through them and stopped at one with seven schoolchildren, our teacher and her toddler son sitting in front of us. The little Mitica sat on his wooden horse with a proud look. The picture was taken when I was in the fourth grade. Elizaveta Deomidovna and Mitica were the only ones wearing shoes in the picture. I’d never noticed this before. Our teacher and I both had a book in our hands. Hers lay open on her lap, while mine was positioned with the cover facing the photographer. But the title was not legible. I tried to recall what I had liked to read back then.

Vanea’s thoughts went in the same direction. “Do you remember the book you were holding here?”

“No, but what I do remember is that I had a book with me almost everywhere I went.” I decided to guess. “Maybe it was something by Alexei Tolstoy. I liked him so much back then, that I adopted his birth date as mine.”

Vanea’s eyes opened wide, but in the next moment this gave way to a nod. “I’ve read The Hyperboloid at least a hundred times. So I fully understand your choice.” Another approving nod. “I just never realized that a birth date could be chosen.”

After another moment of thought, Vanea went on shuffling through the pictures. He stopped at another photograph and turned to look at the back of it. It was a picture of me, and as I started to recall the events connected to it, I had to hold my breath. I should have taken this picture out before giving the envelope to Vanea.


P.S. If you would like to find out more about this book and find where you can purchase it or download a free sample, then click here.

P.P.S. You can find the full list of my books here.

#firststory #firstnovel #firstpublishedbook #thetruthaboutfamily #fiction #basedontruestory #basedontrueevents #aboutmyfather #orphan #orphanofworldwartwo #sovietunion #moldova #Odessa #Tselina #familystory #formychildren #formyniece #OptimistWriter