Wednesday, October 18, 2017

How My Job Relocation Led to My Writing a Crime Thriller

My boss called me into his office one day toward the end of 2008 and informed me that my job was being relocated from Tel Aviv to Bulgaria. If I didn’t agree to relocate, someone would be chosen to replace me. I told my wife that we needed to talk.

At the time, I was a division manager in an Israel-based company providing marketing and support services in the online gaming sector. I had been working at the company for four years and I was starting to consider looking for new challenges. I had dreamed of working overseas but I thought that at my age, relocation would never be an option.

Read the rest of this article on LinkedIn.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Oops! I built my sukkah upside-down!

When you purchase a sukkah in Israel it's supposed to be a lifetime investment. The so-called sukkah l'netzach is easily constructed and then stored away after the holiday for future use. How is it, then, that I've gone through four or five of the contraptions over the years?

The first "ever-lasting" sukkah I bought was nothing more than a set of irrigation pipes. The end of each pipe had to be screwed onto the next pipe's connecting threads with the help of a monkey wrench. This sukkah swayed dangerously in the slightest breeze. After one or two holidays, the end of the pipes broke off, effectively shortening its shelf life.

The second sukkah I purchased, also designed for eternal use, was a marketer's mad concept of an Erector Set. It consisted of two golf bags filled with a multitude of bars, angles, connecting joints, and support pieces. There were diagrams included but construction was worse than finishing a 2,000-piece jigsaw puzzle. The sukkah stood in place at last, and then it collapsed.

Read the rest of this article on The Times of Israel.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

5 Tips For Writing A Novel While Working Full-Time

Guest post by Rachael Mollison-Read

Writing a novel requires an enormous amount of time, energy, and emotion. These can all be difficult to muster up when you work full-time at another job. Still, working full-time should not be a deterrent to pursuing the goal of writing a novel! Here are 5 tips for writing a novel while working full-time:

#1. Use Your Best Energy:

Finding the time of day when you have your best energy is an important part of writing while still working full-time. Using your most productive and creative self for the work most important to you means that you can make the most out of what time you do have.

I’m a morning person, so I make sure that the first thing I do when I wake up is get some writing under my belt. Other people work well late at night. Whatever time works best for you, turn that into writing time!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Review of ‘Totaled’ by Brian Blum

Just a few weeks ago, electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors handed over the first of its $35,000, 350-km range vehicles to eager customers. According to media reports, the company has a backlog of half a million orders.

This exciting news is coming out of California. It could have been coming out of Israel if a company called Better Place had fulfilled its dreams of changing the world. In hindsight, every decision Better Place, its management, and its narcissistic founder made was wrong.

In short, Better Place crashed.

Totaled: The Billion-Dollar Crash of the Startup that Took on Big Auto, Big Oil and the World by Brian Blum (Blue Pepper Press, August 2017), details the rollercoaster ride of what was possibly the most innovative concept to ever emerge from the Israeli ‘startup nation’.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Review of ‘Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe’ by Kapka Kassabova

The Strandja is a mountainous border zone between Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece. Also spelled Strandzha, the area is a nature reserve blessed with biodiversity, a region rich with history, and a land filled with mystery. The Strandja is also the backdoor of Europe, a centuries-old passageway that today constitutes an escape route for refugees fleeing the Middle East.

It is into this border zone that author Kapka Kassabova sets off on a quest, a quest to “look into the faces of those who are there, hear their stories, eat with them, learn new words.” For Kassabova, who grew up in Bulgaria during the 1970s and 1980s, the Strandja had been off limits; the border running through it was the division between the Communist east and the free world. As such, it was an area filled with gun-happy troops and fugitives. In her new home in Scotland, Kassabova developed a hunger to see the Strandja, and to understand this border that runs between three countries.

“The tug of the border was powerful among the river dragonflies, like a gravitational force. Whichever way you turned, something was behind you and nothing ahead of you. Perhaps that’s what history is.”

Friday, August 18, 2017

Self-Editing: These Words Have Got to Go!

What do you do when you finish writing a book? You edit it! And what do you do when you finish editing? You edit some more.

In my case, I wrote a novel, edited it, signed with a literary agent, got a publishing deal with a large foreign language publisher, saw my book traditionally published, and now I am editing the manuscript once again. (Read this if you don’t understand why).

Self-editing. What is there left to edit?

What could I possibly be editing at this late stage of the process? I am polishing the manuscript, tightening the flow of the narrative, speeding up the pacing, and making other tweaks to the content here and there.