Friday, April 26, 2013

Scenes from "Valley of Thracians": Varna

During the two years we lived in Bulgaria, my wife and I vacationed twice in Varna on the Black Sea. Varna is quite an ancient city, as the oldest golden treasure in the world was discovered there. Today it is a major tourist destination, with sandy beaches and hotels, including the nearby Golden Sands resorts.

In my suspense novel, Valley of Thracians, the Peace Corps volunteer at the center of the story is last seen at Golden Sands. “The wallet and passport of twenty-three-year-old Scott Matthews were discovered on a beach at a resort north of Varna three years ago. The Bulgarian police investigated, and your grandson was never found. Possibly he was washed out to sea; it’s not clear.”

Join me today on a virtual visit to Varna, with pictures of some of the locations where scenes from the book take place.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Poison Pill, a Book Review

Poison Pill, the debut suspense novel by M. A. Granovsky, deals with an obesity control drug that could be worth millions of dollars and efforts by the brother of the scientist who invented the drug to reclaim the company that will benefit from its discovery. The action transports us into the world of venture capital, high finance takeovers, and the medical laboratories where next-generation drugs are being developed.

The title of the book is extremely fitting. The term "poison pill" refers to a strategy used by corporations to discourage hostile takeovers. By employing a "poison pill", the stock of the company becomes less attractive to the entity trying to acquire it. Poison pill also refers to a medicine that ends up causing damage to the person who swallows it.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Who Were the Thracians?

It's a logical question that I'm asked from time to time. The name of my suspense novel is Valley of Thracians, and the action takes place in modern day Bulgaria, so who exactly are the Thracians?

“The Thracians? I don’t know much about them. Was that a culture here in Bulgaria during the Roman era?” the main character of the book asks.

So, here is the answer. With pictures of typical Thracian treasures similar to those depicted in my novel.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Israel Remembers Its Fallen, Celebrates Independence Day

2016 Update - Israel celebrates its 68th birthday this year and we pay tribute to the brave soldiers who gave their lives as they fought on our behalf. These days we are still fighting for our existence, combating terrorists and their supporters - the battle for our independence has not yet been one.

Today we bow our heads solemnly and tomorrow we will celebrate. Life goes on.

It is always quite hard - the sudden shift from Israel's Memorial Day (which starts Sunday night, April 14), to Israel's Independence Day (which commences just 24 hours later). One moment we are solemn, our cinemas are closed and we are visiting the country's many military cemeteries, remembering our fallen soldiers. Then, hours later, we are dancing in the streets, wildly celebrating our Independence Day. This year Israel is marking its 65th birthday.

Without the efforts of our brave soldiers who fell in defense of our country, Israel would not be the free, democratic nation that it is today. Before we can celebrate, we must give proper tribute to those who helped bring us to this day.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

How My Book Became an Amazon Bestseller (for 3 Days)

There has been a lot of discussion lately about the merits of the Amazon KDP Select Program, which allows authors with e-books available exclusively on Amazon to offer them for free for a limited time. In the past, I learned, the free days of these promotions (maximum of 5 days during every 90 day period) resulted in a significant rise in the books' rankings when they went back on sale. Since then Amazon has changed its algorithms, so some authors claim there are no advantages of a free offering.

Why did I even consider making Valley of Thracians available for free? The book was published at the end of January. Sales during the first six weeks were not encouraging. Despite my efforts to promote my book via email, on Facebook and Twitter, through guest posts on other blogs, and even in a newspaper interview, I had failed to generate enough marketing buzz to sell the book. In short, readers didn’t even know that the book existed.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

What Happened to Macedonia's Jews during the Holocaust?

Israel tonight and tomorrow commemorates Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day with ceremonies at Yad Vashem and elsewhere honoring the memory of the six million Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust.

During the two years that my wife and I lived in Bulgaria, we were aware of the fact that Bulgaria's entire Jewish community was spared, despite the fact that Bulgaria sided with the Nazis and its government passed anti-Jewish legislation and planned for mass deportations.

There is one sad footnote to this story, and it should not be forgotten. The Jews of Macedonia, which was under Bulgarian control during World War Two, were transported to the death camps. An entire Jewish community perished.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Scenes from "Valley of Thracians": Sofia

My wife and I lived in Sofia, Bulgaria, for two years, 2009 - 2010. We lived in a furnished apartment, worked in a modern office building, and spent the weekends exploring the city. We walked Sofia's cobblestone streets, strolled through its parks, explored its markets, ate in its restaurants, and visited its museums. While not the most beautiful capital city, Sofia still captured us with its eastern European charm, a combination of old traditions and a desperate attempt to catch up with modern ways.

Sofia also served as our base for traveling around Bulgaria. We traveled out by bus, train, and plane, and on occasion rented a car. At the end of our travels we returned to our Sofia apartment, which very much felt like home.

It made sense to me that the adventure described in Valley of Thracians should begin and end in Sofia, as it is the gateway to Bulgaria. The pictures included here will only give you but a taste of Sofia and its charm. Join me today on a virtual visit to Sofia, with texts from Valley of Thracians and pictures of some of the locations where scenes from the book take place.