Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Answer Two Questions Correctly and You'll Win a Prize

Every morning on my way to the Aroma coffee shop where I sit and write for an hour before going to work I pass by the Reshet television studio. At that early hour there is a morning show and I can actually see into the studio as I pass by. One of the hosts of the morning show is media personality Avri Gilad.

On occasion, Avri goes out to the street and catches passersby for a quick quiz. He asks them three questions and if they answer two of them correctly, they win a prize.

I have been stopped twice before and asked to participate in the televised quiz but both times I was in a hurry to get to work. This time, I said OK.

Avri Gilad was certainly not ready for my "clever" spur-of-the-moment replies, as you can see in the video!

(Thank you to my son who quickly starting filming when I messaged my family that I was going to be on television!)


Saturday, April 14, 2018

What Inspired Me to Write 'The Burgas Affair'


"During the two years I lived in Sofia, I fell in love with Bulgaria and most of my writing these days, both fiction and non-fiction, is based on my experiences there. Having grown up in Israel where, unfortunately, suicide bombings and terrorist attacks are an ever-present security danger, I assumed Bulgaria to be a completely safe place to live. That is why the terrorist attack at Burgas Airport was so upsetting to me. I read every media report about the bombing and the investigation in its aftermath. As the terrorists were never caught, my creative mind came up with some possible explanations. I envisioned a joint Bulgarian-Israeli investigation and the end result was my novel, The Burgas Affair."

Read the full interview on Lisa Haselton's Reviews and Interviews.

Monday, April 2, 2018

How It Came About that "The Burgas Affair" Was First Published in Bulgarian


The first blog article I published on The Huffington Post was entitled “10 Amazing Things You Don’t Know about Bulgaria.” The article went viral. It received more than 27,000 likes and was translated three times into Bulgarian (two of them without my permission). I gained a reputation as a Westerner who writes very positively about Bulgaria.

I love to read and I write many book reviews. I began specializing in writing reviews of books written by Bulgarian authors who have been translated into English. As a result, I established many connections with Bulgarian authors, publishers, and media.

My novel The Burgas Affair was published as Бургаската афера in May 2016 by Ciela, the leading publishing house in Bulgaria. It was strange, and exciting, to attend the book launch and a book signing for the novel in Sofia, when the book had yet to be published in English. The book was well received in Bulgaria, but it certainly didn’t become a bestseller.


Excerpt from an interview in the January-February issue of Doorway to Art.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

"The plot is fast paced and intriguing at the same time"

Review of The Burgas Affair on Book Vue


"I have so many things to say about the book, I don’t know where to begin! Let me first say that I thoroughly enjoyed it! The prologue was intriguing enough for me to get started. Everything from the setting to the characters to the plot, was all weaved perfectly to create a story that has a lasting impression.  I’ve never had a fascination for Bulgaria but it was so beautifully described in the story that now I want to visit it! The plot is fast paced and intriguing at the same time, perfect for a thriller."

Read the full review on Book Vue.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

I Ran in the Jerusalem Marathon!

Please note: I said that I ran in the Jerusalem Marathon, and not that I ran the Jerusalem Marathon.


The Jerusalem Marathon event has a number of races and not everyone is capable of running the 42-kilometers of the marathon. There are races at shorter distances as well and some of them are actually runs, and not races.

Last week I ran the Jerusalem Marathon's 5 kilometer run. I crossed the finish line in, well, I don't know the exact time. The goal was not to set a new record time but to finish the race, and I did!

I had been exercising and training for the run for some time. In the run-up to the run (excuse my pun), I was running 5 kilometers a day, but this was on a treadmill. The actual run, in the chilly Jerusalem morning, included a few ups and downs as the track circled the Hebrew University campus at Givat Ram.


As you can see, my competition was tough, but then again, this was not a competitive race. Thousands ran the 5 kilometer distance (they said a total of 35,000 runners participated in the Jerusalem Marathon runs). Runners included families, children, soldiers, tourists, and people like me, running for the first time.

Having completed the course, I feel like I have truly accomplished something. I proved that running is a mind-over-matter affair. If you will it, it is no dream. I set a goal for myself, and I succeeded.

Until next year!


Link: The Jerusalem Marathon website.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Get your copy of "The Burgas Affair" for FREE!

I am excited to share my writing with you, so excited in fact, that for a limited time I am offering my new novel to you for FREE.

Download your copy of The Burgas Affair now. Enjoy the read!


Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Carpets of Red Anemones

This past Saturday, Jodie and I did something we had wanted to do for years. We visited the northwestern Negev during February, in time to see desert in bloom.

Our first stop was the Be'eri Forest, "a rolling landscape of hills and fields" famous for "its carpets of red anemones."


While there were anemones in the forest, they were mostly surrounded by weeds. The forest is also a popular destination for families riding bicycles.

We had better luck seeing the flowers at Be'er Marva, across from Kibbutz Alumim. Just off the main road, this small nature preserve had less people and more flowers.


February's flower blossoming is marked by Darom Adom (The Red South), an annual festival that brings Israelis from other parts of the country into the northern Negev, some of them, like us, for the first time. It was a colorful, enjoyable experience and the perfect way to spend a sunny February day.


Official Darom Adom website (Hebrew)

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Review on "Books From Dusk Till Dawn"


"The story is as much about the relationship that develops between them as it is about finding the bombers before there were more deaths. Boyko had his own dodgy past to deal with which was slowly coming to light throughout the story. There are times that the story drops back to fill in how events went down. I really didn’t like Boyko to start with but he did grow on me. Ayalya feels she has a lot to prove about herself and how she is seen by other members of both these teams.

"There was plenty of action throughout the book, both surrounding the bombing and Boyko’s past. It is very much a tension builder with spikes of adrenaline fueled scenes to allow you to take a break before the next one, if you need to. They were a couple that I would want on my side. I really enjoyed this book, though it is sad that in real life the case was never solved. If you continue reading after this story ends  the author goes on to fill in facts about the real bombing."

Read the full review on "Books from Dusk Till Dawn".

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The Burgas Affair - But What Are They Eating?


When Detective Boyko Stanchev of the Bulgarian State Agency for National Security sits down for lunch at a roadside cafe, he is furious that his partner is an inexperienced data analyst from Israel. Ayala Navon has just flown in from Tel Aviv to join the investigation of a bombing at Burgas Airport which took the lives of five Israelis and their Bulgarian bus driver. Ayala has never previously been to Bulgaria and Boyko feels she will interfere with his work on the case.

The waiter brings their lunch.

There is the ubiquitous shopska salad—finely cut wedges of tomatoes and cucumbers topped with grated salty white cheese. Next to it were small ceramic bowls of potato salad and the so-called Russian salad, which was nearly the same, except for the addition of carrots and peas. A colorful tomato salad and one made from peppers were also quite appealing; they were served on traditional Bulgarian plates. Off to the side was a bowl of yogurt spotted with drops of green.

“Snezhanka salata,” Ayala said, dipping in her spoon to help herself.

“How do you know its name?

“It’s because,” she began, but then she shrugged, smiling to herself. She recalled the occasions during her childhood when her father had asked to include Bulgarian dishes in their meals, a request stated so frequently that her mother had given in to his tastes, despite their being so different from the cuisine with which she was familiar.

“Because?” he asked, waiting for an answer.

“I just know the name.”

Read the rest of this article on But What Are They Eating?

Friday, January 26, 2018

The Burgas Affair review - Me and My Books


Ellis has used real life events of the bombing of a bus at Burgas Airport in Bulgaria as the basis of his story.  He has used his unique knowledge and experiences to add extra dimensions to his story.

Overall a book that starts very dramatically, that then twists and turns its way through several themes.  It was a very insightful read with good attention to details, and a lot of little added extras that the author has used to create a dramatic, exciting edge of the seat read.  A real page turner from start to finish and one I would definitely recommend.  Ideal for readers of crime, thriller with good amount of action, adventure.  I also want to mention how after reading this book, that the cover is a perfect accompaniment.

Read the full review at Me and My Books

Friday, January 19, 2018

The Burgas Bombing: Where Fact and Fiction Meet

Two alleged Hezbollah terrorists went on trial in absentia in Sofia, Bulgaria, this week, for their role in the Burgas Airport bus bombing in July 2012, an attack in which five Israeli tourists and their Bulgarian bus driver were killed.


Readers of my novel The Burgas Affair are well aware of the details of the bombing. The book is a fictional account of a joint Bulgarian-Israel investigation launched in the wake of the terror attack.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Why I Will Never Again Promote My Book with a Facebook Boost or Ad

If I was to say to you, in the very first sentence of this article, that I just published a new novel and you can click here to buy it, your response would probably be one word: “Congratulations!” And that’s the only result I would get from my marketing pitch.

It’s quite an accomplishment to write, edit, format, and self-publish a book. It’s an even more daunting task to market a book.

If you’re expecting me to tell you the secret to marketing a book, you’re in for a disappointment. I have not yet been successful in my marketing endeavors, unfortunately, but I’m still working on it!

What I can tell you is that when I tried to promote my novel on Facebook, it was not successful. That was an experiment which I will not repeat and here’s why.


Saturday, January 13, 2018

I Had Never Considered Writing about Bulgaria until…


At the end of 2008 I was summoned into my boss’s office. I worked in online marketing at a mid-level management position and I thought I was handling the work pretty well. My boss informed me that the position was being relocated from Israel, where I live, to Bulgaria.

In January 2009, I arrived in Sofia with my wife to start a two-year relocation of the job. I had never previously been to Bulgaria and I had never lived before in Europe. I was born in the United States and Israel has been my home since I was as a teenager. Living in Bulgaria would not only be an exciting challenge to my career, but also an adventure.

I found working at a desk in a Bulgarian office to be very similar to working at a desk in Tel Aviv. I eagerly looked forward to the weekends, when my wife and I set forth to explore the country which had become our temporary home.

Read the rest of the article on Donna's Book Blog.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

10 Reasons to Visit Bulgaria in 2018

Bulgaria is not on the bucket list of most travellers and many would find it difficult to place the country on a map. This is a shame because Bulgaria is an amazing, underrated travel destination, one that is blessed with stunning natural beauty and an abundance of fascinating places to visit. Listed below are ten of the most compelling reasons to travel to Bulgaria this year.


Sofia. Many visitors start their exploration of Bulgaria in the country’s capital. Sofia has a very Eastern European ambience but everywhere there are signs of that it is quickly adapting to the modern era. Most of the main attractions are in the centre, where the Roman ruins of Serdika can be seen in the metro stations. It is hard to miss the gold-domed Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, built to honour Russia’s assistance to Bulgaria in its war of independence from the Ottomans in the 1870s.


Rila Monastery. The most popular tourist site in the entire country is located about an hour and half’s drive south from Sofia. In a serene mountain setting, the monastery is named for Ivan Rilski, Bulgaria’s patron saint who lived in a cave at the site. The main church is framed by black and white-striped pillars and its external walls are covered with Biblical-themed frescoes. The church’s interior is dark but welcoming for the many pilgrims who flock there to light candles.

Read the rest of the article on The Huffington Post.