13 May 2017
Dreamercialism (a short story)
I am walking down the streets of neon lights and gleaming billboards. A huge greasy doughnut is following me up to the corner of the street, blabbering on about his lemon custard and chocolate topping. I run away. The sparkly billboards dazzle me. I squint, then close my eyes. Someone shoves a flier into my hand. It offers a seventy percent discount for a new haircut. I crumple the flier and toss it into a bin nearby. The bin is glittering with red and blue stripes: an ad for a sugar-free chewing gum. I scowl and keep walking.
A giant slice of pizza is waving its gloved hand at me. I need to try their new pepperoni with eighty percent discount, it tells me. If I bring a friend, the walking slice of pizza promises two bottles of beer.
I slog away through the forest of billboards. They are square, round, rectangular; they glimmer, they blaze, they glow and sparkle and hurt my eyes. They are offering me the best, the finest, the latest—all that I need for happiness.
I hang my head down and run.
I stumble upon a friend under a striped tent. He's smiling. He’s come across the best hot dog stand in the town and offers me a sausage drowning in mayonnaise.
“Give it a try,” he says. “I've just found this place. Saw it in my dream.”
I look at the hot dog in my hand. It’s big and greasy and smells of spice. Suddenly, the pink sausage opens its eyes and stares at me.
“Did you see me in your dream too?” it asks in a squeaky voice.
I gasp and drop that terrible hot dog to the ground. The billboards are still blazing.
“get noticed!” says a blond woman from a banner. She's clad in a red dress, showing off her long legs and red patent shoes.
“let’s shoot ‘em up,” says a muscular hunk with a smartgun. I think I know him, have seen his stony face on the posters at every movie theater.
“get slim with magic tea,” promises a man with a turban on his head.
A little girl on another billboard is throwing a tantrum, her face a mix of rage and apocalyptic ire. The billboard blinks and the wild girl is replaced with a smiling little angel, pressing a gorgeous doll to her chest.
“our toys change your kids,” says the caption.
The billboards begin to swell and rise up into the air. I hear their endless buzzing as they fill the space above me, forcing me to retreat, making me feel small, insignificant.
“the best prices.”
“the biggest discounts.”
“buy the cheapest.”
“buy three for the price of one.”
The air is lacking, I can’t breathe. The billboards are choking me and the hot dog on the ground is telling me to pick it up and have a bite.
“Try me,” it's yelling. “Twenty-five percent more meat. Try me! Try me! Try me!”
* * *
I wake up covered in sweat. I know it's morning, but I can't see the sun. I have to trust the clock. I see very little sky. It's hidden behind soaring billboards. Hundreds, thousands of billboards.
I want to stay at home forever, to hide from all that glow. I need a space free from commercials, but home is not safe either. My doorway is littered with fliers, my post box is crammed with visiting cards. My message box is sinking in unread messages about vacations and Viagra.
I'm walking down the streets again. Buses and trams are advertising lipstick and toilet paper. I’m constantly chased by walking cellphones and anthropomorphous sausages. A food cutter and a talking tire join them.
There’s a familiar face around the corner, waiting for the doors of the movie theater to open. I know her, we used to work together in a discount store before I quit.
“Heard about this movie in my dream,” she says. “Can you believe it? Talk about mystery.”
“Talk about trouble,” I think, but say nothing. I have dreamed about that movie too.
My head starts spinning, overwhelmed by the perfume odors, the smells of food, the sparkling jewelry and neon lights. Fish cans and mascara bottles chase me down the streets, trying to foist on me their fliers, testers, and discount cards. I avoid them. I walk faster. I run.
It’s night, but I don’t see the moon. The sky is shielded with blazing lights: red, blue, yellow, green, pink, purple; they mingle, they shine, they sparkle and lure me into the kingdom of commercials.
“You need us,” they say, “We’ll make you happy.”
* * *
I go to bed. I sleep, but don’t rest. I see them again. Fliers float in the air. People from the banners wink at me. Posters fill my last free space.
I wake up covered in sweat. I don’t want commercials in my dreams. My dreams are my last haven, they belong to me, they can't be rented!
I roll over in my bed and press the remote controller with my elbow. The TV turns on. The light pierces my eyes. Soon they adjust and I see commercials.
Someone on the TV talks about a revolutionary advertising method. I wonder what else they’ve come up with. Was there anything else left? There’s no more space. Every inch of this town is covered with billboards. Banners shield the sky, posters cover the streets and pavements. Everything talks, walks and sells.
“Yes, this is a true revolution,” says the man from the TV. “We need all the space. We need to use it all. Every inch of it!”
I wait impatiently for him to go on. I need to hear what they have done. “No,” I think, “not that. Not my sanctuary.”
“yessss!" he yells. "We're advertising in dreams! An expensive service, but worth every penny.”
I wake up covered in sweat. Burgers and cupcakes chased me while I slept.
I pull the drawer open and take out my gun. I load it and press it to my temple. I don’t want to shoot. Once I used to love life.
I lower the gun down and look out the window. I see billboards. Where are my stars? I don’t want these shiny banners, I want stars. Please, give me back my stars.
I run out, the gun squeezed in my hand. I try not to look at the banners. I don’t want a new hairdryer, a new microwave oven, a new car... I don't want their discounts, I don't care for their sales.
They have stolen my stars from me.
I wander down the streets for hours, but can’t find a free space. We need to use every inch, I remember the man's words from the TV.
Up in the air I see balloons with ads; hang gliders with commercials cross the littered sky. Flags flip over my head. Something crumples under my feet. Once autumn leaves, now just fliers and discount cards.
I shove the gun into my mouth. This time I don't hesitate.
* * *
It's black at first, empty. No sound. No smell. Nothing. I keep my eyes shut for some time, to be sure no one’s trying to sell me anything.
I open my eyes and feel them well with tears. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen the sky. It's beautiful. I see a sunrise, and I see the stars. I don’t know how it can be, but maybe the rules here are different. Or maybe somehow I have deserved this much beauty.
The breeze caresses my face. The hill I’m standing on is covered with daisies. They tremble with every gust of the wind.
“Couldn't take it anymore?”
I turn around. The voice belongs to an old friend of mine. He's been gone for three months. A suicide. He's leaning against the tree and smiling knowingly. Then he bends down and helps me to my feet.
“I needed freedom,” I say.
I look around again, to be sure I’m free. I take a deep breath. The air is clean, not stinking with perfume and roasted chicken. The tree is not plastic, the grass is not synthetic turf. The sun is up and is warmer than the light bulbs. I pick up a daisy. I haven’t touched a real flower for so long. They didn’t grow in my town anymore, they were imported.
I want to go down the hill, but my friend stops me.
“Stay here,” he says.
“This is the last hill,” he says. “The last free space.”
The air clogs in my throat and my hands quake. “In the afterlife?” I ask.
“But why?” I yell. “Why in the afterlife?”
“It was the last free space,” he says. “Every space must be used.”
11 April 2017
The Road to Magic (Ch1, P1)
09 April 2017
Abracadabra: The Witchcraft Academy (Prologue)
The old witch knew the magician was close. She could hear his heavy footsteps echoing in the dark corridor. She knew what he wanted, but she would be the last witch in the world to hand it to him.
The lights of the castle were out, but the dark passages and grim chambers had served the old witch as a home for a lifetime, she wouldn’t get lost inside that familiar maze.
With a wooden chest squeezed under her armpit, she pushed open the heavy door of the library and slid inside. In the darkness the thousands of colored paperbacks that covered the high walls looked gray and lifeless. Under the silver will-o'-the-wisps gleaming across the ceiling the old witch moved in-between the desks to the edge of the vast chamber. The oaken doors on her left and right were not locked, but she chose not to hide. She stood still under the central canvas and watched the magician approach her, the magic wand raised menacingly in his hand.
“Nowhere to run,” the magician said. “Give it to me and I will spare you.”
The old witch grinned. “You will never get it, slave.” She pressed the wooden chest harder to her breast.
The magician frowned. “One last warning, old hag. Give it to me.”
“Never.” She snatched a bronze candlestick from the closest desk, but before she could aim it at the magician, a silver light sprang from the point of his wand and struck her right above the heart. The witch’s body spread on the floor.
The magician crossed the chamber, bowed down and pulled the wooden chest out of the witch’s grip. The chest was handmade, with a mermaid carved across its lid and a silver latch. The magician opened the lid and looked inside.
The chest was empty.
09 April 2017
Im back with Abracadabra! (sort of)
I haven’t been online for eight months! Wow, that’s a lot, isn’t it?
When I took the hiatus, I was sure that in six months I’d be back with the first book of my new series. But come to think of it, the book isn’t done yet. And it’s really heartbreaking. I am becoming mad, losing my grip, I have lost sleep. I plot all the time. And the more I plot the story the more complex it becomes.
But a part of it is done, and I’ve decided to post chapters of the new book on my blog. Obviously, the chapters WILL NOT be professionally edited, and when the times comes to publish the finished book on Amazon, it will definitely differ from what I will post here.
But I want to share with my readers what I have written in previous months, and so, the first book of Abracadabra series will be posted portion by portion on my blog.
Thanks for reading my books. It means the world to me.
16 August 2016
Taking a Hiatus
I wish I didn't have to, but I think it's the right thing to do at the moment. I am totally into my new book and find it hard to manage a blog. This doesn’t mean I won’t be posting reviews. I may still do it once in a while. But I won’t be accepting books for reviews. I’m still reading a lot, but right now I prefer acclaimed authors who can teach me to write better. It will be four years soon since I’ve began writing in a second language and I want my next book to be better than the “Witch Hollow” series.
Unfortunately, I still haven’t reached the level I wished I would have reached after four years. I still struggle for words, misuse them, pen awkward sentences, and bang my head against the keyboard more often than is okay for the human brain.
This is how I look like most of the day.
And the book isn’t going as fast as I want. But it’s going. If I want to be done with the book by the end of autumn I need to focus solely on it.
Wish me luck, fellow witches and wizards!
The painting is The Passion of Creation by Leonid Pasternak.
01 August 2016
Last Night I Dreamt About JK Rowling
I must have told a few times I am currently working on the first book of my new series, Abracadabra. The title is enough hint about the genre, isn’t it? Those who have finished my Witch Hollow series know that the new series will be about the Witchcraft Academy. I am excited, but I am also nervous. I know my new book might be called a copy of Harry Potter. In the vast cyberspace, where indies are bullied on a regular basis, I might be called a plagiarizer, a wannabe-Rowling, and many other things. But I’m still writing my book and hope to publish it somewhere around the most magical time of the year: Christmas!
Maybe I am thinking too much about the possible reaction towards my book, and maybe because of my impressionable personality, I had a dream last night, where I was having a conversation with Miss JK Rowling! I told her about my upcoming book and its plot, and asked her if she felt offended because I was writing about a school of witchcraft (in real life, I don’t think I am offending Rowling, but we do and say strange things in our dreams, don’t we?). She answered me, “You have chosen a topic that can be explored and create hundreds of interesting stories. If you have one in your head, write it by all means.”
Then we talked about our favorite magical items. I told her how much I wished to receive a flying broom as a Christmas present when I was a little kid, hoping to find it inside our big Christmas Tree. She told about hers, but I don’t remember.
What’s strange is that I’m not even a very big Harry Potter fan. At the moment I’m stuck in the beginning of book 4. I do like the series, and love the second movie, but there are diehard fans, and I’m not one of them.
Then I woke up, checked the Internet, and found out it was JK Rowling’s (and Harry Potter’s) birthday. :))))
So, happy birthday, JK Rowling! And even if you say "The Cursed Child" is the end of Harry Potter stories, may you change your mind and make your readers as happy as they are at the moment.
21 June 2016
10 Ways To Seduce a Writer
There are a lot of memes over the Web about the writers. Very often we are portrayed as nutjobs, insomniacs, introverts, edgy, crazy and even suicidal. There’s a bit of truth in all of these characteristics. But we can be cute and sweet too. All you need to do is follow some rules. Here’s a great list I’ve found (from Writers Write), which does a good job at telling what the writers love.
I especially love the first two. Can there be such a thing as too many books? I can’t fit paperbacks in my home anymore, but there are always digital books, which I love no less. I don’t care that they are digital; they are readable, nothing else matters. So what am I trying to say here? You can give me digital books as gifts, too! I’ll be more than happy to receive them. And if you decide to give me paperbacks, then also remember to build me a bookcase!
Alright, I’m kidding :D But digital books are indeed appreciated. Just because we can’t touch them doesn’t mean they can’t touch us. Don’t underestimate their value as gifts.
Then there is another list: How to drive a writer crazy.
Every time I see a list like this, I remember my friend and her great idea for a fantasy novel. I might have to ask her if she has finished her book. After all, writing is nothing complicated, is it?
15 June 2016
Author Lois Duncan Has Passed Away
Just learned that author Lois Duncan has passed away today. She's probably most famous for "I Know What You Did Last Summer" and other YA suspense novels (I had reviewd IKWYDLS back in November 2015). I didn't knew Lois Duncan personally, but I am so saddened by the news of her dead I can't stop thinking of her. I followed her on Facebook and to me she had become a friend, someone whom I admired and whose career I followed. She had written over 50 books and had sold hundreds of thousands copies worldwide. She was a pioneer of Young Adult Suspense genre and had some of the most original storylines. As far as I know Lois was over 80, and she'd sometimes post on FB how hard life was for elderly people. She had recently moved to a new place, and I remember so well when she posted on Facebook that she felt she had reached the last haven. It was sad to read about her constant pain in the back, but despite all that pain just a few months ago she found time to send hundreds of autographed books to her readers. She was a wonderful person, a truly great, inspiring author, and she will be greatly missed by all her readers all over this wide world.
Rest in peace, Lois Duncan. Thank you for the books.
10 June 2016
As a fantasy lover I was looking forward to this movie, sometimes even counting the days. After the disappointment called Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, I had been longing for a new fantasy to dive into and spend a bit of magical time among the elves, orcs, dwarves, and humans.
Just look at those orcs!
I can’t remember more beautiful and malicious characters than the orcs in Warcraft. They were a real work of art, detailed and meticulously designed.
I tried to get into the movie. I have never played Warcraft, but it shouldn’t have been a problem. Warcraft is supposed to be a movie for fantasy lovers, not just for the game fans. But it seems the writers and director have another opinion. Because while my imagination did its best to fill in the gaps and paint a wholesome picture, the movie did everything to confuse me. They should have shown Azeroth a bit more before the kingdom plunged into a war with the orcs. They should have introduced the characters better, so that I’d care for them. Maybe then I wouldn’t lose my interest after the first 30 minutes. Warcraft should have been an hour longer. Otherwise it was too fragmented and confusing.
Such a shame :’(
I’ll be looking forward for another fantasy. If Warcraft 2 comes out, I know I won’t be watching it. Just not interested anymore.
23 May 2016
I am alive #2
Ohhhh, where do I begin?
I haven’t been active for ages. BUT! I had a good reason. Now at last I can think of me as a healthy person (more or less), and at last I can fully devote myself to writing. My head is full of so many stories, and I can’t decide which one should be written first. Because I had promised my readers to tell them about the Witchcraft Academy, then Abracadabra needs to be the first. Only, I have no idea when book 1 will be ready. I’ll do my best to finish it as soon as possible. Meanwhile, check out the Witch Hollow short story collection: Stories from the Past. It’s available on Amazon for just $1.99.
02 November 2015
I am alive
I am alive, I promise. I've just been a bit messy lately. Sick, jobless, and overall upset. But I am writing and reading and will post new revies soon.
I just need to drink 1000th cup of tea. And decide what I am going to do with my life. It seems my dream is coming true and willy-nilly I am becoming a full time writer. And I wonder if I'll starve or not :D No, I guess not. No way. No, no, no.
See ya all soon. Take care and keep yourselves warm. There are viruses everywhere!
Image from www.christinevida.com.
16 September 2015
I Don’t Read Romance
I have specifically stated in the review guidelines that I don’t read romance. Please do not offer me love stories or books with romantic elements. I’m not interested. Moreover, I am uncomfortable reading them, because most of these books are nothing but the author’s sexual fantasies. Really, I’m not interested in reading another woman’s fantasies, mostly about a hot-alpha-male-dangerous-brutal-dark-possesive-aggressive-sex-machine protagonist. After 2 books of this nature became bestsellers, almost every book in romance category is by someone who consumed them and thought “I can write this too!” And they do. The same old story is published a few thousand times a month. I’m not the book police and I’m not telling others what to write, publish, and read. I’m just asking once again to not offer me stories filled with sex, pining, swooning, hot males, Kamasutra positions, washboard abs, accidental pregnancies, sweet heroines, dark heroes, love triangles, perfect jawlines, taut chests…
Send me mysteries. Send me horror. Suspense. Sci-fi. Historical. Fantasy.
And please, no Young Adult. I write YA, and that’s enough for me.
07 September 2015
Summing up the Week
Let's see what I've been up to last week.
Three articles on Writing/Marketing:
Six books reviewed:
Three cheesecakes made. This is one of them.
One great song discovered:
One movie watched:
01 September 2015
Cheesecake and Me
There is only one thing better than reading a book, and that is reading a book with a nice slice of something sweet and tasty :D
Voila'! My new creation!
No idea why I used to think that making a cheesecake has to be something complicated. I'd order it at bakeries and cafes, delight after each bite and feel sorry for my inability to make one. Until I checked the recipe, he-he! It's basically cream cheese, eggs, and sugar. I ransacked a dozen stores and didn't find cream cheese here. There are Mascarpone and Philadelphia, and they are uber-costly. So I went with curd cheese and my cake is yummy. So yummy that I've made it for the second time already and hardly got a bite myself :)))
It looks better in real life <3
And reminds me of the Moon's surface,
Any cheesecake fans out there?
19 August 2015
This is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. So many times I have seen popular authors tell us that we should treat other authors not as rivals, but as business partners. That one author’s success is the success of all authors. I call it bullshit. Another author’s success has nothing to do with my books and their sales. We’re not this big, nice family, where everyone gathers around the table with a roasted turkey in the center, smiling and petting each other on the shoulder, while congratulating one of the family members who just sold 1 million copies of her book. Our life is not dreamlike, as many think. Just because writers don’t have a 9.00-6.00 job (although I do, like many others), that doesn’t mean a writer’s life is a compilation of smiles and congratulations. Yes, we are rivals. Because writing is business, and we have a limited amount of customers. Let’s be honest, one day there will be more books than readers. And that day seems to be approaching. If you’re not a famous best-selling author, than the only way to survive is writing as many books as you can in a short period of time. And that’s what we, the indies, do. Now tell me, how can there be no rivalry? No way, right? But you know what? Rivalry is not a bad thing. It can be a good motivator to write more, and write better, and hire a professional editor, and order a good-looking cover. And all the aforementioned will help you to make your book stand out. Competition is what drives the business, and as I said already, writing is a business, too.
But rivalry (or should I say healthy competition) is not jealousy. While rivalry makes you work harder and produce better books, jealousy pushes you back and sends you into a state of misery. Get rid of it. If you’re not sure how author rivalry differs from author jealousy, let me explain it.
Rivalry is when you see another author publish their third book in the same year and think, “I should work as hard as her.”
Image from fareedsiddiqui.com.
Jealousy is when you visit another author’s book page and leave a 1-star review, hoping it will stop the sales or will at least hurt that author’s feelings. Or when you summon your friends and begin carpet bombing said author’s books with negative reviews. Or when you upvote the negative reviews and downvote the positive ones. I see this often. A fellow author has recently published a romance novel in a popular subgenre. Her book is well-written and professionally edited; she has a good cover and has a lot of positive reviews, and one single 2-star review. And that 2-star review is upvoted, while the 4 and 5 stars are downvoted. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not really a big deal. It’s just a review and it won’t really harm the book’s sales, no matter how many times it’s upvoted. It’s just a bit sad witnessing this type of jealousy. And the more popular the book becomes, the more it’s carpet bombed by jealous authors and their friends. I’m not talking about genuine negative reviews. Over time I’ve learned to tell the real negative reviews from the fake ones. Call me crazy, but I like to receive a negative review once in a while. NO, I’m not asking you to give my books negative reviews :)) I’m just saying that a balance is always good. I’m also saying that being jealous won’t help. It’s just a waste of energy and time. Thinking “Why her and not me!” won’t help you finish your next book. But it will turn you into a miserable human being. The word explains itself well: jea-lousy. You don’t want to be lousy, do you? But you can be a healthy competitor and work as hard as you can, while lending a helping hand to the newbies. I know I'm loving every bit of it!
23 July 2015
Welcome to AWISL
I see you’ve found my new website!
Welcome to AWISL: Authors Writing In a Second Language.
If you have been following my blog at idblind.blogpost.com, then you know I have been planning this website for a while. At last it’s ready! As I've said before, I am going to review books and discuss my experience as an indie author who writes in a foreign language. If there are certain topics that interest you, share them with me, and I’ll tell you about my experience. Staying faithful to my promise about helping newbie authors, I will try to answer all of your questions.
If you have come to this website, then I suppose your biggest problem is writing in a foreign language, which in our case is English. On one of these days I will write about famous authors who had chosen this same path and why you should do that too, but as for now, I will give you one very important advice: If you want to write in English, then you need to read in English. A lot. Every day. You may not like it, but I advise you to read only in English. That’s what I’ve been doing for the last 3 years. I even read the Russian classics in English. I have to admit it’s a bit sad, because I love Russian and Armenian (my native tongue) languages, but I also love the idea of being a published author and having readers who love my work. Everyone needs to sacrifice something. And don’t forget that we, the AWISLs, might have to sacrifice more than the rest. We also have to work thrice more, and thrice harder. So, if an author needs to spend at least 4 hours a day writing, we need 12. If an author needs to spend at least 3 hours a day reading, we need 9.
Yes, I know.
But who said this was going to be easy? I’ve been doing this for 3 years, and I still hate what I write, and get depressed, and bang my head against the keyboard, and cry and moan and drive myself crazy.
But it’s worth it. Because there’s nothing like telling a story. And if you agree, then take a deep breath, pick up your pen, and start writing in English. And follow AWISL. I promise to help you.
TagsDreamercialism short story Dune Frank Herbert sci-fi classic terrible Abracadabra witchcraft academy book 1 chapter 1 Abracadabra witchcraft academy book 1 prologue Abracadabra witchcraft academy new book Bazaar of Bad