Monday, May 25, 2015

Sofia's Stunning Gold-Domed Cathedral, at Sunrise

I did not come to Sofia to sightsee. Having lived and worked in the capital of Bulgaria for two years, my vacation was planned as an opportunity to see friends, old and new; to relive my Bulgarian experience; to travel to places not previously visited; and as an opportunity to get inspiration for my future writing, both fiction and non-fiction.

Whenever family or friends visited us in Bulgaria, we always took them to the center of the city to see Alexander Nevsky Cathedral - the stunning gold-domed cathedral that serves as the capital's landmark attraction. The domes are spectacular; the dark interior with icons and paintings of the saints serves candle-lighting pilgrims, as is typical of Eastern Orthodox churches.

Read the rest of this on The Huffington Post.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Are Writers Certifiably Crazy?

The symptoms are getting worse. I wake up at night, my mind racing at a frantic pace, the ideas flooding me with a tidal wave of creativity. Afraid that I will forget something, I race downstairs to jot some notes so that I will remember everything in the morning. When I come to the breakfast table, I find my laptop surrounded by a sea of sticky Post-Its.

My sleepless nights might be considered a bad thing, but for me - a writer and author - they are very, very good. I write a lot in the dark hours, if you accept that coming up with ideas is a vital part of the writing process. Between these bursts of creativity, I manage to get in some actual sleep as well. As tired as I may be the next day, physically, mentally I am alert and hyper-awake.

Here is what is happening to me: Besides getting inspiration while writing in my sleep, I also find myself daydreaming, but that's normal. As other authors will be certain to confirm, daydreaming is part of a writer's job description.

Read the rest of this article on The Huffington Post.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

On Vacation in Bulgaria

I am on vacation in Bulgaria this week - visiting friends, old and new; traveling to exciting places; and breathing in the Bulgarian air. All of this will be inspiration for my future writing - travel articles and works of fiction. I will be blogging again very soon!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Fifty Shades of 18% Gray

The novel 18% Gray is aptly titled, as this is not a story painted in black and white, but rather one in which the main color is gray. Eighteen percent gray, as professional photographers know, is the "universal starting point for all light meters… the half-way point between black and white."

Gray is used to describe everything we see. Gray are the suit coats and the donkeys; gray are the offices, towns, and tunnels. "The gray houses have gray roofs," we read. "On the gray streets we passed gray people bent over gray bicycles. It was as if I had ridden into a black-and-white dream."

Despite all of this grayness, I found this book by Bulgarian born novelist, playwright and screenwriter Zachary Karabashliev – an award-winning bestseller in Bulgaria and flawlessly translated into English by Angela Rodel – to be very colorful. As someone who lived for two years in Sofia, mention of the "smell of roasted red peppers coming from somewhere in the neighborhood" brought back many fond memories. But this is not a novel of Bulgaria. This is the tale of a Bulgarian moving across the gray landscapes of America, told in three parallel plotlines.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Readers in the UK: "Valley of Thracians" for only £0.99

If you're a reader in the United Kingdom, Amazon has a discount deal just for you! For a limited time only, you can download Valley of Thracians for just £0.99.

That's a huge discount on the usual price for the digital edition.

The stellar reviews keep coming in, so it's no surprise that Amazon selected Valley of Thracians for this special promotion.

Hurry and get the novel today!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Hope for Tomorrow at the End of the World

I have never been to Antarctica, and admittedly, visiting the southernmost continent is not high on my bucket list of travel destinations.

Antarctica is the "coldest, windiest, tallest, and most deserted continent on Earth," according to Bulgarian author Ludmila Filipova, yet it "has been alluring people for the last two centuries of human history."

What attracts visitors to this desolate place? There is something special there - "a faery of colors rules the place, while in the play of sunrays endless snowy vast and ice sculptures seem to be chiseled by the hand of an invisible fairy."

Read the rest of this article on The Huffington Post.

Friday, April 24, 2015

By the Rivers of Babylon

The Wayward Moon by Janice Weizman is the captivating tale of a young Jewish woman surviving despite the hardships of the ninth century Middle East.

Imagine that you are traveling in a caravan across the desert. Your camel stops for the night at a khan on the road between Mosul and Damascus. After a hearty evening meal, you wait at your table for the evening's entertainment. Tonight there will be a storyteller, one with quite an unusual tale. The speaker is a young woman, but what she relates is only a partial account of her ordeals. She doesn't reveal her true story, one that would keep you riveted to your chair far into the night.

This is Rahel, a seventeen-year-old Jewish girl born in Sura, a city south of Baghdad. Rahel is about to meet her fiancé for the first time, but instead of wearing her white wedding dress to the huppah, she is forced to flee in the wake of her father's murder. Rahel loses not only her home and all her possessions, but also her identity, both as a Jew and as a woman.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Apocalyptic Suspense in the Heart of Jerusalem

In Torn Blood by David J. Bain, a newly arrived U.S. Embassy official makes his way into Palestinian territory and finds himself trapped in a terrorist plot to destroy Israel.

The Tower of David, also known as the Jerusalem Citadel and in Hebrew as Migdal David, has served as an outer fortification protecting the Holy City since Hasmonean and Herodian times. The tower itself is a Turkish minaret added to a Mamluk mosque, and in fact the connection between the citadel to Biblical King David is in name only.

Migdal David is prominent in any image of the Old City walls. The fortress that served for centuries as a garrison for Ottoman troops is today considered a symbol of Jewish Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty.

For Palestinians to launch a terror attack from Migdal David "in the heart of the Old City, is symbolic, personal," says one of Israel's senior security officials, when confronted with the greatest threat Israel has ever faced in its history.