Ellis Shuman was born in Sioux City, Iowa, and immigrated to Israel as a teenager. He completed high school in Jerusalem and served for three years in the Israeli army. Along with his wife, Jodie, he was a founding member of Kibbutz Yahel. After working for several years in the hotel industry, he today writes and edits online marketing content. In the years 2009 – 2010, his job was relocated to Sofia, Bulgaria.
Ellis’s writing has appeared in The Times of Israel, The Huffington Post, The Jerusalem Post, Israel Insider, and on a wide range of Internet websites. He is the author of a collection of short stories, The Virtual Kibbutz (2003) and two novels, Valley of Thracians (January 2013) and The Burgas Affair (October 2017).
Ellis lives with his wife, children, and grandchildren on Moshav Neve Ilan, outside Jerusalem. He writes about Bulgaria, Israel, books, travel, and the craft of writing on his blog.
**Published October 30, 2017:
The Burgas Affair
She’s an Israeli data analyst. He’s a headstrong Bulgarian detective. Together they must track down those responsible for a horrific bombing.
In the wake of a deadly terrorist attack at Burgas Airport in Bulgaria, Israeli and Bulgarian intelligence agencies launch a joint investigation. Detective Boyko Stanchev on the police task force teams up with Ayala Navon, a young Israeli intelligence analyst on her first overseas assignment.
The two must establish whether the terrorists were assisted by a Bulgarian crime organization in laying the groundwork for the attack.
It should be a routine investigation, but shadows of the past keep interfering.
Boyko’s interactions with a crime boss pursuing a vendetta against him threaten to throw him off track. Ayala’s pursuit of the terrorists and their accomplices brings up painful memories of a family tragedy.
Boyko and Ayala form a shaky alliance, one that evolves into growing cooperation and affection as they desperately race against time to uncover who was behind the Burgas bombing.
The Burgas Affair is a fictional account of the aftermath of a very real terrorist attack. On July 18, 2012, a deadly explosive rocked a tourist bus at Burgas Airport, killing five Israelis and their Bulgarian bus driver. The terrorists responsible for this murderous attack have never been brought to justice.
The Virtual Kibbutz: Stories from a Changing Society
Israeli short stories from the kibbutz.
For over fifty years, the magnificent oak tree stood as a solitary landmark in the middle of the valley, witnessing the cool, wet winters and the hot, humid summers. Young pioneers established a new kibbutz nearby, celebrating their collective way of life in the shade of the tree.
Decades later, the kibbutz is not the same. Its members’ idealism has changed. Can the community still be considered a kibbutz?
In this debut collection of stories, the author introduces you to kibbutz residents challenged with adapting to new realities. Along the way you’ll see how kibbutzniks face up to the violence of the Intifada, cope with the Internet, and struggle to have more control over their lives.
Meet a clown who uses magic to heal the wounds of terror victims, a veteran dairy worker who has difficulties bidding farewell to an albino cow, a farmer who must decide what to do with the prize money of a lottery, and a reporter who is researching comedian Jerry Seinfeld’s kibbutz past.
These are the stories of Israel’s unique society, of the changes and dilemmas it faces, and of the hopes, challenges and dreams of those who continue to call the kibbutz their home.
Valley of Thracians: A Novel of Bulgaria
How far would you go to rescue a loved one?
A Peace Corps volunteer has gone missing in Bulgaria and everyone assumes he is dead, everyone except his grandfather, who refuses to give up hope. Retired literature professor Simon Matthews launches a desperate search only to be lured into a bizarre quest to retrieve a stolen Thracian artifact—a unique object of immense value others will stop at nothing to recover.
Matthews travels through a Balkan landscape dotted with ancient tombs and fortresses, unaware that his grandson has been confined to an isolated mountain cabin, slowly recovering from a severe head injury. Nothing can be taken at face value, as the woman assisting Matthews in his quest and the nurse caring for his injured grandson may have ulterior motives in helping the two reunite. Even when Matthews succeeds in joining up with his grandson, departure from Bulgaria is only possible if the missing relic can be found.
Katie O’Rourke is a hybrid author, which means she has both traditionally published and self-published books. Her debut novel, Monsoon Season, is being published through LittleBrown and Finding Charlie was chosen for publication by Kindle Scout. A Long Thaw was traditionally published and then re-released on her own. She launched her fourth novel, Blood & Water, this month.
Katie writes family sagas with overlapping characters, so they’re all connected. The stories in these books exist on their own and can be read in any order, independently from each other. They’re not sequels, but because all of the characters live in the same world, there’s an opportunity to revisit the past. Readers of Monsoon Season will find a familiar face in Finding Charlie; if you’re still wondering about Juliet when you finish A Long Thaw, look for her in Blood & Water.
Katie grew up in New Hampshire, went to college in Massachusetts, and has settled down in Arizona. These are the environments you’ll find in her stories because she thinks having an authentic sense of place is so important when you’re reading. Her work has been called women’s fiction, contemporary fiction, and literary fiction. She tries not to get hung up on genre labels and just writes the kind of stories she likes to read.
**Published November 21, 2017:
Blood & Water
Tucson, Arizona is a place for runaways. Everyone comes from somewhere else and has a story about what they left behind.
Delilah arrives on her brother’s doorstep with a secret. She hasn’t seen David in five years. He ran away from their family long ago for reasons no one talks about and she still doesn’t understand. The stress of raising his teenage daughter alone sometimes makes David envious of his deliberately childless friends, Tim and Sara, but they’re runaways too, harboring secrets of their own. Blood & Water tells their stories and traces the deep connections between this unlikely group of friends.
This novel is about family, in its various manifestations: the one you’re born into, the one you choose and the one you create.
Buy Blood & Water now! The Universal link is here.
Katie’s other books are available now:
When Charlie vanishes without warning, the people who love her are worried sick. Even if the law considers her an adult at nineteen, Charlie’s still the baby of her already broken family. Older sister Olivia is determined to figure out what’s happened. She finds a lost cell phone, an abandoned car and a shady boyfriend she’s never met before. And he’s not the only secret Charlie’s been keeping.
Cousins Abby and Juliet were born into one big, close family. But when Juliet’s parents divorce, it tears the family apart and sends the girls in very different directions.
Juliet grows up too quickly, forced to be responsible for her younger sisters as well as an alcoholic, single mother. Abby grows up a pampered, sheltered only child. As women, they try to mend the rift and come to terms with the way their shared history connects them, in spite of the years apart.Told in alternating narrative, A Long Thaw explores how the two women are shaped by the traumas and triumphs of childhood. It’s a story about the power of secrets and the unbreakable bonds of family.
Riley refuses to call herself a battered woman – she doesn’t fit the profile. When her boyfriend Ben hits her, she doesn’t know what to call it. She does know to pack her things and run to the one place that feels safe – home. After a horrific accident turns Riley’s world even more upside down, she’s forced to accept help from those around her. Before she can begin to heal, she must learn the difference between being independent and being alone.
This collection of short stories is about young women negotiating their roles in family, love, and the world at large. Also included an excerpt of Finding Charlie.
Jill Dobbe is an international educator, travel writer, and published author. She writes books and articles about her experiences living and working in schools and countries around the world. The interesting sites she has seen, the unique places she traveled to, and her many experiences, good and bad, prompted her to start writing. Originally from Wisconsin, USA, she currently lives in her seventh country, Honduras, with her husband, Dan, and her Yorkie-Poo, Mickey. Jill has two adult children who also feature in many of her stories about living abroad. Ali is an international teacher who teaches in Honduras and Ian is a doctor living and working in Michigan.
While working as an elementary principal, Jill writes travel articles, reads obsessively, shops for cultural artifacts, works at scrapbooking, photographs the beautiful people and countries of Latin America, and muddles her way through the Spanish language. Jill loves her life as an international educator, and on those days when the electricity is on, the internet is working, and there is hot water, she feels she is living her dream.
Jill is the author of two books: Here We Are & There We Go: Teaching and Traveling with Kids in Tow and Kids, Camels, and Cairo. These books are meant for adult readers and she writes a little about the school and the students, but also the places they visited.
Here We Are & There We Go
A heartwarming travel memoir filled with temper tantrums, disorienting jetlag, and zany, once-in-a-lifetime family adventures. Who says you can’t travel with kids? Dan and I find out we can do just that as we set off with our two very young kids, first to live and work on an island far out in the Pacific, then on to the continent of Africa with a few stops in between. Armed with strollers, diapers, and too much luggage, we travel to over twenty-five countries throughout a ten year span, while working together as international overseas educators. After surviving typhoon Yuri, almost being mauled by lions, and, being nearly shot by a presidential guard, we happily endure all of the good times and bad, while living life to the fullest. A decade’s worth of experiences and lifelong memories remain with us, as we return to the U.S., now with two teenagers in tow, and begin to experience our very own version of reverse culture shock.
Kids, Camels, & Cairo
Traveling across the globe to work in an international school in Cairo, Egypt, was not exactly the glamorous lifestyle I thought it would be. I cherished my travels to the Red Sea, delighted in visiting the Pyramids, and appreciated the natural wonders of the Nile River. However, I also spent days without electricity or internet, was leered at by rude Egyptian men, breathed in Cairo’s cancerous black smog, and coaxed school work from rich, apathetic students.
Why the heck did I do it?
So I could experience the unexpected, explore the extraordinary, and bask in the thrill of adventure!
Whether you’re a traveler or not, you will be astounded at this honest and riveting account of learning to live in an Islamic society, while confronting the daily challenges of being an educator in a Muslim school.[Top]