Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Burgas Affair - БYPГАСКАТА АФЕРА - In Bookstores!





I am proud to announce that my novel The Burgas Affair has just been published by Ciela in Bulgaria - БYPГАСКАТА АФЕРА.

The book is already available in bookstores and will be published in a digital edition next week. Special thanks to good friends Matthew and Laura Sperber now traveling in Bulgaria for their visit to a bookstore and buying a copy!

For those who read English - you'll just have to wait. The original English version of my novel will hopefully be published one day soon!

Friday, May 6, 2016

You've Got Mail, 42 Years Later



Taughannock Falls
My wife hails from Ithaca, New York. In 1971, along with her parents and sisters, she made aliyah – the family moved to Israel. Even now, over 40 years later, Jodie has fond memories of her childhood – of walking to school in the snow-covered streets, of summers spent on the shores of Cayuga Lake, of visits to Cornell University, and of enjoying the beauty of the many waterfalls around the city.

For nearly forty years, Jodie spoke of these memories and her only lament was that she couldn’t share them with me. “I want to show you where I grew up,” she told me repeatedly. In comparison to the unexciting scenery of Sioux City, Iowa, where I was born, “Ithaca is much more beautiful,” she would say. “Someday I want to take you there.”

That someday came in the summer of 2013. We traveled to the States for a family wedding and to meet up with good friends. And we took a detour with our rented car to Ithaca for the long-awaited visit to the town where Jodie had grown up.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Cover Reveal, and yes, it's in Bulgarian



I am proud to show you the cover of my novel The Burgas Affair, which will be published by Ciela, the leading Bulgarian publishing house, in May.

THE BURGAS AFFAIR. A Bulgarian policeman is teamed up with an Israeli woman from the Mossad as they work a case involving international terrorists and local criminals in both Bulgaria and Israel, while confronting the traumas of their pasts.

The publication of the book in Bulgarian will be its world premiere. Hopefully publication of the book's original English version will soon follow.

In Bulgarian, the name of the book is БYPГАСКАТА АФЕРА.

To my friends in Bulgaria - I look forward to sharing this novel with you!

I wish to thank all those who helped me during the research and writing of the novel, as well as the team at Ciela and my agent, Jessica Schmeidler of Golden Wheat Literary.

Previous story:

Announcement: I Sign a Book Deal

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Chat in the Writers’ Chateau



This interview was originally published on Lisette’s Writers’ Chateau in February 2014 and while some of my answers concerning the publication of Valley of Thracians now seem a bit outdated, other points have stood the test of time. The interview covers my writing process, my marketing efforts, and as a special bonus – my connection to the game of poker.

I would like to thank Lisette Brodey, indie author of six novels, for her kind generosity in conducting this interview for posting on her website.

What is your latest book?

I self-published my suspense novel, Valley of Thracians, and it has done remarkably well. I’ve been very pleased with readers’ responses, as the book is not your typical suspense novel. Some readers have described it as ‘travel fiction’ as well as an introduction to Bulgaria, a country that few have visited, or know much about. In my novel I strongly emphasized the setting of the story. The book deals with a Peace Corps volunteer who goes missing during his service in Bulgaria. His grandfather comes to the country to track down the missing young man and ends up learning about Bulgaria’s history and culture as he travels.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Only in Israel: Kosher for Passover Beer


I have written about the gluten free beers made by Meadan Craft Brewing in the past, especially about their beer made from hummus. Now the brewery has taken the next step - brewing the first-ever kosher for Passover beer.

Meadan's Date Ale, a beer made from date syrup, is the world's first beer made from dates. And, it's not only gluten free, but also hametz free. Hametz is any food type, especially bread, that is leavened, and therefore forbidden during the week-long holiday of Passover.

During the Passover Seder, it is custom to drink four cups of wine. Changing that tradition to drinking four bottles of beer is doubtful, but at least everyone will have Date Ale to help wash down the matza served at the table.

Read also: Beer Made from Hummus

Friday, April 15, 2016

Of Storks and Fire Dancers



On the feast day of Saint Constantine and Elena, tourists gather in the villages of southeastern Bulgaria to watch the centuries-old tradition of fire dancing. These nestinari dancers, moving in a trancelike state barefoot on smoldering embers while holding the icons believed to protect them from the fire, carry out a ritual mixing Eastern Orthodox beliefs and pagan traditions from the Strandja, a mountainous region stretching into northern Turkey.

As described in Stork Mountain (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, March 2016, £8.99) by Miroslav Penkov:

“Every year, for thirteen hundred years, the nestinari dance. Come spring, come June, come the feast of Saint Constantine, the feast of Saint Elena, they build tall fires, three cartloads of wood torched and burned to embers. And then, barefooted, they take the saint’s invisible and holy hand and plunge into the living coals. The drum beats wildly, the bagpipes screech. Sickness and worry, happy and bliss – the fire consumes them all. Here in the Strandja Mountains, where the nestinari dance, the fire leaves nothing.”

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Luxury Travel in Bulgaria Is Totally Affordable



Bulgaria has something for everyone. There are sandy beaches on the shores of the Black Sea; a metropolitan lifestyle in Sofia; art shops and galleries in Plovdiv's Old Town. Historical villages dot the countryside showcasing renaissance architecture from the mid-19th century. In the winter months, the mountains are perfect for skiing; in the summer the hiking is breathtaking.

I have long been a proponent of how inexpensive it is to travel to Bulgaria but discerning western visitors don't have to compromise on their accommodations. Luxury travel in Bulgaria is totally affordable.

Although there are fancy resorts along the Black Sea, I will skip those due to their glitzy mass appeal. Instead I will focus on four high class establishments where my wife and I have stayed, all at reasonable prices.

Villa Gela - luxury accommodations in the colorful Rhodope Mountains.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

When I Was in Belgium



The recent terror attacks in Brussels and the subsequent manhunt for terrorists made me think back to the weekend my wife and I spent in the Belgian capital last September. Security considerations were the last thing on our minds, even when we spent an entire, unplanned day at Brussels Airport.

“How would you like to attend a Crosby, Stills & Nash concert?” my wife surprised me one day. “Where are they playing?” “They are staging a concert tour in Europe. Let’s go!”

We are not groupies of the band yet we had grown up on CSN music. “Our house is a very fine house,” we would sing, especially due to the fact that for many years we had “two cats in the yard.”

“Where and when are they playing?” we wondered. We checked the schedule and considered going to hear them in Rome. The dates weren’t good for us. How about Dublin? Or Copenhagen? Or anywhere? Brussels fit in perfectly. On the spur of the moment we booked tickets for the end of September between the Jewish holidays, a time when our jobs would not tie us down.

The Grand Place in Brussels