Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Help Dingo Dogs!

Dingo Animal Lovers need your support!
Stray dogs of Armenia need your help to survive the winter. Please make a donation. Every cent counts.


You can go to their Facebook Page and look at some before/after photos. Dingo Animal Lovers are one of the best people I have ever met. No one else has done as much as them. They are great, kind, and brave girls and guys, and they need your help.

You can read more HERE and show your support by making a donation.

Thank you!

Monday, December 8, 2014

John Wick

"People keep asking if I'm back."

This has been my favorite movie quote for the past months. Last night I watched John Wick in the theater. And loved it. Such a brainless action movie, like playing a video game and knowing you won't lose. And Keanu is still badass.

I lost the count of how many heads were shot and how many times the audience gasped, and I honestly  loved John Wick. So much I'd watch it again if I had the time. Because it was a no-brainer. And because my brain had been so tired recently, I needed something like this. But the biggest reason why I loved this movie is because the guy John Wick was after was such a typical example of the rich daddy's rotten son, that I loved each violent, bloody step he took to reach that little m0th3r!@(%3r and shoot his brains out. I wish I had my own John Wick for obvious reasons.
After the movie ended, I heard a few guys say, Whoa, so much for the dog, and had to roll my eyes. Of course it was not just for the dog. Those guys broke into his house, beat the hell out of him, stole his car, damaged the other one, and killed the dog to which he was emotionally attached. I think these were enough for a retired assassin to start a bloodbath.

And Keanu rocks. I saw him first in Point Break and have loved him since. I loved him in Speed and in The Matrix, liked him in Devil's Advocate (though I have grown tired of that movie), didn't like him in Dracula (because in Dracula I love only Gary Oldman), and think I need to rewatch Little Buddha.

John Wick is full of good action, no shaky camera work or fast-cuts. The music is great, the characters are good, the back story is interesting. It has style and it delivers. If you're not turned off by violence and blood,  cursing and swearing, and are into video games and action movies, give John Wick a try. It's great.

EDIT: Oh my God!!! Keanu is 50? FIFTY?!!! Keanu Reeves is 50 years old? Unbelievable.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

December 7, 1988

It happened at 11:40 in the morning. And lasted 40 seconds.
And took away the lives of 25.000 people. And left half a million homeless.
My great nation, it's unbelievable how much you have endured.

Friday, December 5, 2014


Judging by my blog's statistics, I get visits mostly from the USA and Armenia. USA is not unexpected: I write in English and sell mostly in the States.
Armenia is a bit strange though, considering that not even my friends know that I write and publish on Amazon. Not that it's a secret; it's just that no one really cares.
But there's a strange activity from France. I get more views from France than from the USA and Armenia combined, which is rather strange as I haven't sold a single copy in France.
So, who are you, mysterious people from France that visit my blog? Don't be shy and say hi. Or maybe, Bonjour?
Photo from favim.com.

I'm going permafree

I'm not sure if I have been telling about my free promotion experiments. If I haven't, then here's a short summary: A few times in the past I have made Witch Hollow Book 1 free as an Amazon experiment. The result is that I gave away almost 6000 books, but they didn't bring me much sales or reviews.
If you read my blog you probably know that my first attempts at writing in English weren't successful. Recently I've come to the conclusion that if I don't consider my first books good, then I shouldn't expect people to pay for them. And Ta-Dan!! From now on Witch Hollow Book 1 will become permafree.

But that's not all. I also don't like how the second book was written, so it becomes permafree, too!
I'd make the 3rd book free, too, but unfortunately I need to eat :) And pay my bills.

I can hardly wait to finish the 5th book and move to other things. I have so many projects at the moment; sometimes I wish there were 50 hours in a day or that I didn't have to sleep. The 5th part of Witch Hollow is almost done, but that doesn't mean it will be available in a week. Alas, there's still a lot to do: going through one more draft, editing, proofreading, beta-reading, then going through the whole book one last time, and proofreading one last time... Oh, boy! Who said writing was easy? No, seriously, are there still people who say that writing is easy?

Going back to the free promotion. I wouldn't actually call what I'm doing now a promotion. I don't think I have ever promoted Witch Hollow books, for obvious reasons. Yes, once again, I don't think they are very well written. When I had just begun, I had no idea what was popular in the YA market at the moment. If you read books on writing and publishing, you will hear lots of advice about checking the genre and the best sellers to see what people read today. I didn't do that. To be honest, I don't think anyone has to do that. You don't have to see what's popular and go in that direction; you can just sit in front of your computer and jot down whatever you have in your mind. But! This is not a very good idea if you want to create something popular instead of just writing down a story for yourself, which might eventually find its reader, but might also fail to bring you a penny.

What I did was just writing something, writing my way through the English language, learning how to use it, and also how to use it well. I didn't know anything about self-publishing; I didn't even know there was such a thing as beta reading. Want to hear something worse? I published my second draft without even sending it to an editor!!! Yes, I did that. I don't think many have been more stupid. Why on Earth did I think I could jot down a novel in Russian, Google-translate it into English, and publish it? Read the previous sentence and you'll know why. I wasn't just stupid; I was an idiot. But I'm glad for all the mistakes I've made. It's not the end of the world, and I've learned a lot. I know that smart people learn from other people's mistakes, but I've already proved I wasn't smart two years ago.

You'll probably ask me how did I end up with positive reviews if my book was so bad?

And now I will probably contradict myself, because I don't think that my first books were that bad. They were just different: not profitable and not aimed to be popular. But it happened that they found the readers who were into that not popular type of stories. At that time I was reading and loving Little Women and Anne of Green Gables, and it shows.

And while I was writing this post, great guys from Book Scream just twitted me about featuring Witch Hollow and the Fountain Riddle on their page. Talk about luck!

I am also experimenting with the Kindle Countdown. If you don't know, Kindle Countdown is a KDP feature that lets you offer your book for a discounted price for a short period of time, slowly raising the price back to the original. To use it you need to be involved in KDP Select, which means granting Amazon exclusivity and not having your book at any other retailer. I like to have my books at as many retailers as there are, but when I had just published Witch Hollow and the Spider Mistress, I signed up for KDP Select as another experiment. You can't leave Select for 3 months, and there's also this small box you have to tick so that you won't continue your time in Select after the 3 months. I had forgotten about that box, and after 3 months my involvement in KDP Select had been automatically renewed. I will leave Select in January, and while I'm there I guess I should use that Countdown feature. So, in a day or two, Witch Hollow and the Spider Mistress will become $0.99, then in another day or two it will go up to $1.99, then to $2.99, and will end up at it's original $3.99. This will take a week. I will tell you about the results.

Alright, time to go back to writing. And if you want to know when Witch Hollow Book 5 becomes available, sign up to my mailing list. Just click HERE and fill the short form. No spams! Never ever!
I plan to give away a gift card to one of my subscribers (or maybe two), but haven't decided yet for what.
Stay tuned to win the gift cards when I come up with an interesting idea. Or help me out and share your own ideas in the comments section below.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

My library

Have I already showed off my library? I can't recall it, so I'm going to do that right now.
Just look at these pics! Aren't they amazing? In case you wonder, those red volumes in the top right shelf are everything written by Walter Scott. Oh, I loved his books. I still do. And it saddens me to see that not many read Walter Scott anymore. OK, you might try to argue, but I have done a bit of a research and have come to the conclusion that Scott, Stevenson, Vernes, they are not so popular today. Harry Potter is popular; Ivanhoe and Quentin Durward not anymore.

The blue volumes under Walter Scott is the John Galsworthy collection, including the Forsyte Saga, which I am currently reading. I have to admit I'm advancing rather slowly, I don't know why, but the Forsyte Saga hasn't yet gripped me.
There's a glimpse of Tolstoy and his twelve tomes; Dostoyevsky is on the bottom shelf, and O'Henry and Oscar Wilde are waving their hands impatiently. I see Johann Wolfgang von Goethe on the left, and George Sand, and Erich Maria Remarque beneath them. And I can also distinguish dozens of classic detectives like Georges Simenon and James Hadley Chase. Ahh, does anyone still read them? I know, I know, you and I do, don't get angry. But we're in such a minority.
These are the books in English. They are in minority; most of my books are in Russian. Well, what did you expect? Soviet Union! Anything we read was in Russian. I love the Russian language, I write in Russian better than I do in English. If I had the time I'd translate my books into Russian, but I have too many unfinished projects at the moment, no time for translations.
One day I will gather all these books (and the thousands of volumes that are still in boxes because the shelves are not enough) in one place and will have a library that will move the envy of Belle from the Beauty and the Beast. That's right, that prince's library is nothing compared to mine. All I need is a very big house. Or maybe a palace ;)

Ohh, I see Dumas in red hardbacks, I see Mark Twain in orange, I see Dickens in green, and Jules Verne in blue. And there are Main Reed, Stendhal, Somerset Maugham, Jack London, R.L. Stevenson, and a big collection of sci-fi of 1950s and 1970s. And did you notice that all of them are in hardbacks? Who bought paperbacks back in the day? Hardbacks were the big deal. Hardbacks ruled!

Ohh, Huxley, how much I need that book now. Such a pity these last shelves are in the country house, and I won't get there until summer. Sorry, Huxley. But I will read you, I promise.

I see lots of Armenian and Russian classics in there. I haven't read a book in Armenian for a decade. Such a pity. I love Armenian classic literature, but at the moment, for obvious reasons, I read books only in English.

And here's the latest addition to my huge library. They will never become classics, but they will certainly have their special place in my library. And did you notice that my books have been getting thicker with each volume? Just look at the Spider Mistress. Looks like Witch Hollow's latest installment has gormandized too many pancakes. I can hardly wait to add the 5th book to the list. That will happen very soon. Until then, happy reading! <3