Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Popular Bulgarian Singer Hopes to Restart Career in Israel

Reni had Top Ten hits in Serbia, sold out concert halls in Sofia; today she raises her sons in Rishon Lezion and studies Hebrew at an ulpan.

At the beginning of March, Bulgaria celebrated Liberation Day, marking 137 years since the country's liberation from Ottoman rule. A concert staged in honor of this national holiday filled Bat Yam's Hechal HaTarbut with an eager audience, most of whom had Bulgarian roots. After opening words by Ambassador to Israel Dimitar Mihaylov, in both his native language and perfect Hebrew, the concert began with its bi-national theme - "The Bulgarian Spirit in the Holy Land".

One of the singers who took to the stage was Reni, who sang an opening medley together with well-known Jewish Bulgarian television personality Etien Levy and the young singer Etienita Raichinova. Many in the audience were familiar with Reni’s singing, as she had once been very popular in both Bulgaria and Serbia, but she had since disappeared from the Bulgarian music scene.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

20 Questions with Canadian Poker Player Gillian Epp

This time I get to ask the questions!

Gillian Epp is a high stakes poker player, as well as a tournament host and author. She took to the tables initially as a dealer in a local casino, but soon realized that there was more money to be made actually playing the game. She quit her job and began playing poker, first online and then at live poker games. Since then she has traveled the world, playing cash games against the top poker pros. She is one of Canada’s most recognizable female poker players.

I had the opportunity to talk to Gillian and ask her 20 questions about her poker career and what it’s like to play high stakes poker, both as a Canadian and as a female poker player. She had some very interesting answers!

Monday, March 23, 2015

There are enough reasons to be positive!

An interview with Veni Markovski:

Israeli writer publishes a story about Bulgaria in the UK edition of a US online media – is this what you’d call “globalization”?

Ellis: The way we view the world these days has changed and there is no doubt in my mind that the Internet has played a major role in opening borders between the citizens of different countries, except where online use is limited by totalitarian states. As a writer, I can easily write and submit stories and articles from the comfort of my home, no matter where in the world my home may be. There is no doubt in my mind that we are today witnessing an expedited process of globalization, enabling the exchange of views, culture, products and innovations on a scale never previously seen.

I define myself as an American-born, Israeli writer who writes about Bulgaria, and I believe I may be unique in this characterization. My wife and I lived in Sofia for two years as part of a job relocation, and we regarded this experience as an adventure. Upon my return to Israel I became determined to share Bulgaria through my writing, both to encourage western tourists to visit the country and also in my fiction, as I set the location of my suspense novel in Bulgaria. The ability for citizens from one country to experience life in another is also a sign of globalization in the world today.

Read the rest of this interview on Veni's Blog.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Why I Offered My Book for Free. Again.

47,531. That's the total number of copies of my novel Valley of Thracians that were downloaded during its five-day promotion at the beginning of March. 47,531. That number is so huge, so unbelievable, that I'll probably repeat it a number of times in this article. If I had a dollar for every copy that was downloaded, I would be a rich man. Well, a bit richer. But the thing is this – the huge number of downloads was a result of my offering the book for free. Again.

In March 2013, just two months after I self-published the novel, I ran a free promotion. At the time, I was amazed that 8,440 copies were downloaded. The book peaked in 27th place on Amazon's Free for Kindle bestseller list. In October that year, I ran a discounted book promotion, offering it for sale at $0.99, and 910 copies were sold in one week.

After all this time, why did I decide to again offer the book for free? How did I manage to get 47,531 downloads? And what did I achieve with this free promotion?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Magical Underworld of Bulgarian Author Ludmila Filipova

The Devil's Throat Cave, in southern Bulgaria, is, according to legend, the route used by Orpheus - the legendary Thracian musician and poet - to reach the Hades Underworld, where he sought to retrieve his beloved Eurydice. Adding to the allure of the cave is the fact that nothing carried into it by the waters of the Trigrad River ever emerges from the other side. With the highest underground waterfall in the Balkan Peninsula, the cave is a popular tourist destination.

During the two years I lived in Sofia, I never managed to visit the Devil’s Throat Cave. Yet, I feel that I have ventured into the cave, and even explored its extensive underground streams, and that is because I have read two magical novels written by the popular Bulgarian author Ludmila Filipova.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

A Mossad Spy Thriller that's not a Mossad Spy Thriller

A blue-tinted Star of David features prominently on the cover, but although Eavesdrop by Ian Coates is described as a Mossad spy thriller, there is very little Mossad about it.

Instead, this is the story of James Winter, a former MI5 operative now chasing smugglers on the coast of England. After several of Winter's operations fail to produce results, he is accused of collaborating with a smuggling ring. With his wife hospitalized for cancer treatments, Winter finds it difficult to clear his name. Assuming that the smugglers have bugged communication devices, Winter teams up with Lynne Douglas, an executive at the firm which produced the radios.

Heading to Finland, where the second half of this novel takes place, Winter and Douglas discover a plan by terrorists to attack delegates at Israeli-Syrian peace talks. The Syrians have a hit team afoot in Helsinki, and there appears more to their plan than what initially meets the eye. The novel's lone Mossad agent, once assumed to be a bad guy, is killed, leaving only Winter to alert authorities and stop a major assassination.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Limited Time Offer: Get Valley of Thracians FREE

For a limited time, you can download a copy of Valley of Thracians absolutely for free!

What do readers say about the book?

"A brilliant plot and great reporting on the country and it's history."

"The story twists and turns towards its ultimate conclusion; you will find adventure, thrills and intrigue here."

Read more reviews of Valley of Thracians and get your free copy today!