Summer Reading for the Whole Family to take you on a Magical Trip to Bulgaria

May 28, 2018

I strongly believe that learning about your heritage and preserving your traditions in our own family is a great way to teach our children about the family’s cultural and religious history and adding to their personal identity. Observing, preserving and creating new traditions are ways of honoring our ancestors and also welcoming new members in.

This is the reason a few years ago I started writing books inspired by Bulgarian mythology and folklore, and tales learned from my grandparents in Bulgaria. What better way for the whole family to read, do activities and learn more about their heritage, or learn about another culture?

The Unborn Hero of Dragon Village by Ronesa AveelaMy latest book, The Unborn Hero of Dragon Village, is not an exception.  It’s inspired by the mythological village called Zmeykovo (Dragon Village) where all mystical creatures live. It’s a perfect summer read. As soon as it was published, it became an Amazon #1 New release in Children’s Multicultural Literature.

Amazon Review: “It is a magical adventure story that is steeped in Bulgarian and Slavic myths. This is a book that will appeal to both boys and girls as it is filled with adventure and magic. Many positive messages can also be taken away from this story such as; together you’re stronger and that love is a more powerful force than hate.”

Mystical Emona: Soul's Journey bookI didn’t forget about summer reading for parents. My novel Mystical Emona, set in Bulgaria, is an inspiring story about love. It takes place in Emona, a small village on the coast of the Black Sea. It’s a place where wild horses have roamed the land since of the time of King Rez and the Thracians. In the novel, Stefan is a widowed artist from Boston, Mass, with a young daughter. He hopes moving to a secluded village on the Black Sea coast will ease his pain, and the wild, untamed beauty of this surrounding will inspire him to take up his art once again. He meets a mysterious woman and his life changes. He is drawn to her by some unknown bond, but cannot give his heart to her fully because his memories refuse to release their hold on him. Then the dreams begin. Some delightful. Others terrifying.

At the beach or at your favorite reading place, take the journey to Mystical Emona and find out if the lovers reunite. The book is sure to enchant you with its perfect blend of history, legends, rituals, and romance.

Light Love Rituals book

If you like nonfiction, I think Light Love Rituals is the book you’ll want to read. It’s recommended for children and adults from 8 to 108 who would like to take a journey and discover Bulgarian folk tales, legends, and mythology. Whether you want to learn a little about their ancient Thracian origins, or you want to experience rituals practiced throughout the year with a fictitious Bulgarian family, or even if you’re only interested in traditional Bulgarian cuisine, this book has something for everyone.

Bulgarian culture is rich in folklore and traditions surviving since the days of the ancient Thracians. As pagan and Christian religions collided, many celebrations merged into one. Light Love Rituals will take you on a journey to discover these unique festivals.

Light Love Rituals not only describes the rituals, but also makes them interesting and understandable to people of all ages. The book is divided into four seasons, beginning with winter. It includes activities where you can learn how to make martenitsi, survachka, and Easter eggs dyed with natural colors.

A short quiz after each season lets you test your knowledge of what you’ve read. To help you engage in the traditions in the book, you’ll meet Maria and her family. They’ll open the doors of their home so you can participate in these celebrations along with them. For an added taste of Bulgaria, try some of the traditional recipes at the end.

 

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MEET AN AUTHOR – Heather Ramsay

Today, I have the pleasure of introducing you to another indie author: Heather Ramsay. When she’s not busy reading, she’s thinking of things she’d like for you to read. Here she is now. Please welcome her… and why not pick up a copy of her book?

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Hello, my name is Heather and I’m a bookaholic.

Reading is my vice. Some people prefer television, others movies, but not me. All I need is a book and a quiet place to dive in. The more books I visually consume, the more I realize I love all genres. There is just something so uplifting about a romance, exciting about a thriller, intriguing about a mystery, and wondrous about a fantasy world.

Once upon a time, I read only the most popular “it” books by traditionally published authors. After I finished one novel, I’d be off to the next one. It was through Amazon’s “customers also bought” category that I discovered indie books.

Stack of booksIt was here, out of the mainstream, where I found some of my favorite authors. After reading affordable and well written indie books, I wondered why I’d paid upwards of ten dollars for a well known author’s book. I could buy three or four indie novels for the price of one traditionally published book. My eyes were suddenly open. I began to regret all the hard earned money I’d spent on over-priced books now that I knew there were millions of hidden gems just waiting for me.

The more indie’s I devoured, the more traditionally published books became formulaic with similar storylines. I found this especially true of books in a series. Once I moved past books two or three, I started to find the rest repetitive. The protagonists were somehow always stuck in repetitive loops, doing the same thing over-and-over again expecting different results. My discovery of indie books brought my love of reading to a whole new level. These unique stories pushed the boundaries, filled with fresh views, and no fear of discussing real, gritty topics. The author’s could let their imaginations run wild with no restraints from agents or publishers.

A few years ago, I had the crazy idea to join the front lines and start writing my own novel. It began as a hobby, something to do while my husband watched TV. I wrote my book. I rewrote my book. I erased entire sections of my book and tried again. Once I finally finished it, I wondered if someone else might want to read it. Would they even *gasp* pay to read it? In the end, I decided to take the plunge. Every story has a beginning, right? Well, this is mine.

I welcome you to check out my debut romantic thriller novel, Snakebite, Alpha Squad Book 1. Let’s see if you too, prefer indie books.

Snakebite by Heather RamsayThe Alpha Squad—an elite United Nations military unit tasked with stopping the world’s most dangerous arms dealers. Their existence is shrouded in secrecy, hidden away in the New Mexico desert.

Phoenix is their newest recruit. Where she came from, nobody knows. Not even Phoenix herself. Amnesia has left her with no past, no identity. The squad is all she has. She wants to prove she belongs there – to the other soldiers, to herself, and to her commanding officer, the formidable General Cobra. Cobra is cold, hard, ruthless. And Phoenix knows he doesn’t trust her.

When they are sent to Colombia together on an assignment, something begins to change between them. They begin to form a friendship, an understanding, and maybe something more.

But Phoenix is about to learn that the past can’t stay buried forever…

Buy Link: http://smarturl.it/SnakebiteAlfaBook1

If you enjoy Snakebite, please help an indie author and leave a review. Every star counts!! 

 

About Heather Ramsay

Heather RamsayHeather Ramsay grew up in a town just outside of Toronto, Ontario. After spending a few years working and exploring California, she now resides in Pennsylvania with her family.

Personal trainer, yoga teacher, and group exercise instructor by trade, her true passion is writing. An avid reader and make believer from a young age, Heather dreamed of one day publishing her own book. When not reading or writing, you can often find her training, spending time with family, or chasing around a toddler.

 

Find Heather here:

Website: www.heatherramsayauthor.com

Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/hramsay

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/HeatherRamsay

BookBub: www.bookbub.com/authors/heather-ramsay

Instagram: www.instagram.com/authorhramsay

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/AuthorHRamsay

Twitter: www.twitter.com/AuthorHRamsay

Pinterest: www.Pinterest.com/authorhramsay

Stream One – Goylake Publishing

April 20, 2018

Bendideia Publishing is partnering with Goylake Publishing located in Wales.

Look to these pages for some great books. One in particular I’ll mention is The Hermit of Hisarya, by Hannah Howe.

Some people will stop at nothing in their pursuit of wealth and power. Indeed, the greedy will often resort to murder.

“You’ve been through a stressful time recently, ” my fiance, Dr Alan Storey said. “I’m off to Bulgaria to attend a psychology conference so why don’t you accompany me and we’ll throw in a holiday as well.”

Great idea, I thought. However, when I arrived in Bulgaria my inquisitive nature compelled me towards a mystery dating back to the Second World War. That mystery involved Emil Angelov, the Hermit of Hisarya. As I delved into the past I stirred up some ghosts, which led to murder and the prospect of spending the rest of my days in a Bulgarian gaol.

The Hermit of Hisarya – a story of corruption, of murder, of a woman and her seventy-year-old dream, offering proof that the past, the present and the future are all intrinsically entwined.

If you haven’t read the Sam Smith series, you can start with this one, or jump to the beginning. Each one is its own unique story, but Sam’s story progresses with each additional story.

You can find Hannah’s books here: https://www.amazon.com/Hannah-Howe/e/B00OK7E24E/

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Goylake Publishing is named after a stream. Our enterprise is built around sales, business and author partnership streams. Therefore, our blog posts are numbered streams 🙂 We hope you enjoy them.

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Business mastermind Daniela Jones established Goylake Publishing in 2010 to publish local history books and websites. Daniela has a university degree and a long experience of creating small businesses, founding her first company shortly after leaving university. Daniela still owns Goylake Publishing and oversees its business activities. In her spare time, Daniela competes in triathlons and this year she will participate in Ironman Wales.

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We love music at Goylake Publishing. Indeed, our author Hannah Howe loves music so much she teamed up with children’s author Denise McCabe to form a virtual group, The Screetchers. The Screetchers promise to ‘sing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order’ (!) Okay, we’ll admit, these authors can’t sing, but they can write. Check out their books for proof of that statement.

Over the past eight years Goylake Publishing has had the pleasure of working with many creative people. One of our creative collaborations involved Downwood Film Productions who made this promotional film for A History of Kenfig. A History of Kenfig sold over 1,000 copies on publication and is still a popular title, especially at gift times. Downwood make excellent local history films and we urge you to explore their titles.

To date, Goylake Publishing has published ten audio books with more to follow. This isn’t one of ours, but we played a minor part in the book’s development and are looking forward to listening to it.

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When Daniela Jones established Goylake Publishing in 2010 her initial aim was to sell 100 books in the first six months. Eight years and over 100,000 downloads later…

Through the power of the Internet, Goylake Publishing’s books have reached the number one position on Amazon’s charts in America and Australia, the top five in Brazil, Japan and Canada, the top ten in Britain, and the top twenty in France and the Netherlands.

Goylake Publishing, the local publisher with international reach.

Dragon Village (Zmeykovo) – Dragons in Bulgarian Folklore and Mythology

December 7, 2017

The day fire and ice erupted from the sky everything changed – forever.

Vote for the New book Dragon Village on Amazon Kindle Scout. If the book gets chosen, you get a free copy!

The Unborn Hero of Dragon Village Cover

The Unborn Hero of Dragon Village Cover

To review and vote for the book you can use this link.  If Amazon selects to publish the book through Kindle Press, anyone who nominated the book will receive a free, advance copy. This is your chance to read and review it and tell the world what you think.

The Unborn Hero of Dragon Village is the first book in a series that will expound upon Bulgarian mythology and customs. When twelve-year-old Theo’s sister is captured by a dragon on Midsummer’s Day, he’s determined to rescue her. His journey takes him to the mystical land of Dragon Village, a place he thought existed only in legends. As he searches for the way to defeat the three-headed dragon Lamia, he encounters inhabitants of the land—some friendly and others treacherous.

Fascinating legends about Lamia and Zmey, dragons from Bulgarian folklore, inspired this middle-grade series. The books will include many other Bulgarian mythological creatures, in particular Samodivi (woodland nymphs or fairies) and Baba Yaga (a witch).

Bulgarian folklore is filled with tales about dragons (zmey, male, and lamia, female) who lived in forest and mountains in caves, holes, or cracks in rocks. Serpents or carp would turn into dragons if they were not seen by humans for forty years. Therefore, dragons often had characteristics of various other creatures: snakes, fish, birds, and even humans. Flashes of lightning, shooting stars, large clouds, and rainbows were ways dragons manifested themselves.

Dragon Village

Map of Dragon Village

The lamia is what we typically consider a dragon to be: dangerous and malicious. She does not appear as a human like the zmey. Some tales describe her as a “huge lizard with a dog’s head. Her mouth is so big that it can swallow a whole man and her body is covered with yellow scales. The lamia also has wings, four legs, sharp claws, and a long tail.”  Some had three, seven, or nine heads.

The zmey, however, who often was depicted as a man with wings under his arms, was more kind. He often fought against the lamia when she appeared as a storm or hail to destroy crops. The zmey didn’t abduct a maiden to harm her. Instead, it is because of his great love for her. He often tries to entice her to marry him, telling her of the riches she will have. If persuasion fails, the zmey restorts to abducting the maiden while she performs the horo dance in the village. However, the dragon’s marriage to a human always meets with misfortune. The bride suffers depression and is ostracized from the community.

Zmey and Bride

Zmey and Bride

One tale tells of a girl who married a dragon she met at his well. After a few years, she wanted to visit her family. Unfortunately, she had grown a dragon’s tail. Wanting to appear normal to them, she kept trying to bite it off. When she heard the songs of friends she had once known, she became frantic and died when her heart burst with the effort of removing the tail. The girls buried her by the well. Every year thereafter they performed a buenetz dance, not the traditional circle horo dance. In the buenetz, they dance in a snakelike fashion in honor of the dragon maiden.

While researching for the book, I’ve discovered many creatures of Thracian, Slavic and proto-Bulgarian mythology. The hardest question has been which ones to include in the first book. On this page, I’ll post information about them to try to open the door to the magical world of Dragon Village (Zmeykovo).

Samodiva

Diva the Wild Samodiva

Seventy-seven and a half herbs for healing

June 17, 2017

On June 24th people wake early in the morning to try to catch a glimpse of the flickering sun as it turns three times. Any water that the sun has touched, including dew on grass, acquires healing power. If people see the sun dance, they then bathe in bodies of the healing water or roll in the dew to ensure they will have good health for the coming year.

Also, when the sun rises, people face it, then look over their shoulders at their shadows. If it is well-defined, the person will be healthy. If it is unclear or the head is not distinct, he will be sick.

Bulgarian Mythology and Traditions

Besides the solstice and immortality rites, Eniovden celebrations center around herbs and marriage. First a little about herbs. Saint Enio was called the “Herb Gatherer.” On the eve of Eniovden, people (mainly women) pick herbs because they have magical and healing powers that night. But it is also a night when fairies and dragons celebrate, so they wear red threads on their wrists to ward off the evil ones.
Women collect seventy-seven and a half herbs. These represent seventy-seven known illnesses and half an herb for any unknown ones. Water is poured over the herbs silently so their magic is not ruined by the human voice. Then the herbs are left overnight under the stars to make them even more powerful. Afterwards, people place herbs on the four corners of a field to prevent evil spirits from stealing the fertility of the land and livestock. People sing while performing this task to ensure a bountiful harvest.

An alternative to leaving only herbs in water overnight is a ritual performed by women. They tie together seven, nine, or twelve wildflowers with a red thread. To this bouquet, they attach a ring and let it sit overnight in the water.

Kukeri

January 1, 2017

The kukeri celebration is one of the oldest surviving traditions that can be traced back to Dionysian rites, symbolizing life, death, and rebirth. Men initiated rituals when spirits threatened the Sun’s rebirth. The kukeri continued the practices into the spring, before the sowing of the harvest, when the earth was awakening after a long winter. Thracian warriors believed if they dressed in animal skins, they could battle against these spirits and either scare them away or capture their powers. With them, the kukeri performed rituals to renew nature’s strength. Only men, who carried the seed of life in their bodies, had the ability to rouse and nurture the female Mother Earth.

Kukeri

Kukeri and Witch’s Magic

An unmarried ruler named Dobrodor, the maker of good, spurned the love of Zliyana, the daughter of a king of the northern lands. Because a kind, beautiful woman had captured his heart, he returned tokens of love Zliyana had sent to him.

Living up to her name, Zliyana sought to bring evil on Dobrodor and his people. She cast a spell to make all unmarried men die if they tilled the fields. Since it was springtime, some disregarded the warning and ploughed the earth, consequently dying.

To prevent any more deaths, Dobrodor told all the unmarried men to disguise themselves. Some donned women’s clothing, while others wore masks from the skins of animals and tied bells around their waists. The men dressed as women harnessed the ones clothed as animals and drove the ploughs through the fields. The witch’s magic was fooled, seeing not men, but only women and animals in the field.

Did you know…?

Kukeri have scared away more than spirits. Turkish soldiers surrounded a rebel leader his followers. To terrify the soldiers, they put on masks, bells around their waists, and made torches of hemp soaked in tar. At dusk they crept out to where the soldiers camped. The soldiers scattered upon seeing devils carrying long forks and breathing fire.

#RRBC Back-to-School Book & Blog Block Party

August 27, 2016

Blog Party 1

 

 

 

LOCATION: Southern New Hampshire, USA, EDT

# of PRIZES: 4
*2 audio books: The Christmas Thief
WINNERS: JOY NWOSU LO-BAMIJOKO & NATALIE DUCEY
*1 ebook: Mystical Emona: Soul’s Journey
WINNER: C. S. BOYACK
*1 ebook: Light Love Rituals: Bulgarian Myths, Legends, and Folklore
WINNER: HANNAH HOWE

You are nearing the end of the RRBC Book & Blog Party. We hope you’ve had a pleasant time and have met a lot of wonderful, talented authors. If you’ve missed any, here’s a link for you to go back and visit the others:

Rave Reviews Book & Blog Block Party Lineup

While you’re here, please leave a non-spam comment on this page for a chance to win one of the above prizes. Contest ends midnight CDT, August 27, 2016. Winners will be drawn by RRBC and announced shortly after the contest ends.

Want to learn more about Ronesa? Check out her RRBC Spotlight interview.

Welcome to
The Land of Bulgaria

mystical_emona_add_V1MYSTICAL EMONA: SOUL’S JOURNEY

We’d like to start you off with what inspired “Mystical Emona: Soul’s Journey.” Henry James once said, “It takes an endless amount of history to make even a little tradition.”

So, while the main theme of the story is soul mates finding each other after centuries apart, the book unveils much more than a love story. It’s a story about the modern Bulgarian people and their culture. The book introduces readers to ancient Thracian customs and rituals that have survived through the ages. As one reviewer stated so beautifully: “The relationships are handled with loving care as the story weaves a tapestry of ancient myths and traditions, mingled with the world of today.”

MYSTICAL EMONA:
An RRBC Book of the Month Selection

In addition to these traditions, the wild beauty of a real village called Emona was the inspiration behind this book. This secluded, mystical place located on the Black Sea, its people hidden from the eyes of the world, is filled with history and a soul of its own – from being the legendary birthplace of Thracian king Rhesus, who fought in the Trojan War, to being the site of a fortress during the Middle Ages.

Interview with Bulgarian National Radio: http://bnr.bg/en/post/100485397/mystical-emona-where-ancient-legends-are-still-alive-to-this-day

Love Light Rituals

LIGHT LOVE RITUALS: BULGARIAN MYTHS, LEGENDS, AND FOLKLORE

Bulgarians take pride in their heritage and culture, which is rich in colorful folklore and traditions. The nation practices more than ten thousand rites from a person’s birth through his death. Many of these date back to an era when people both feared and worshiped nature. In the process of writing Mystical Emona: Soul’s Journey, I found myself asking “Why?” on numerous occasions. Why did people do the things they did? Those “whys” resulted in further research. What were the origins of these customs and rituals? What did they mean?

What I discovered was an overlap of pagan and Christian beliefs. Many customs originated in the days when Thracians inhabited the area that is now modern-day Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey. So much of the material I read said Bulgarian traditions had Thracian origins, but few articles delved into what those Thracian beliefs actually were. So I continued digging.

This book is a summation of many months spent researching. Al­though I did search for reliable sources to validate the claims articles made, Light Love Rituals is not meant to be a scholarly document. Nor is it an exhaustive study of rituals. Its purpose is to provide readers with a glimpse into Bulgarian culture. It’s information I found interesting and wanted to share, so other people could take the same journey to discover the way others live and believe.

The following, among many other traditions, are part of the cultural heritage thriving in the Balkans today. The book will take you on a journey to discover some of these unique festivals.

  • Illuminated by the light of the full moon, a woman in a long, white robe holds an icon while she dances in a trance over burning coals. The mystical music of a shepherd’s pipe plays in the background.
  • Women dressed in colorful outfits dance in a circle, then pass through an enormous wreath made of magical healing herbs.
  • Wild spring flowers decorate the hair of young girls. Laden with baskets filled with colorful Easter eggs, the youths travel from house to house singing about health and prosperity.
  • Men clothed like wild animals with colorful, scary masks parade around a village. Attached around their waists, giant bells resound, announcing their arrival. The men jump and yell to scare away evil spirits.

These rituals have survived thousands of years and have been practiced by Bulgarians, Greeks, and other European. They have been transmitted from generation to generation. Some of these stories and rituals may seem silly, but the fact that they survive today is a testament to just how strong the forces of nature and love are. We encourage you to follow us on this blog tour to discover more about these people and their wealth of traditions and beliefs.

Praise for LLR: This is a charming and interesting book. I was hooked from the start. Our author takes us on an interesting journey to the heart and soul of Bulgaria. The details in this book made me feel as if I was in this ancient and marvelous country. There are instructions to make crafts and, being a story teller at heart, I loved the anecdotal passages. There is also a charming collection of delicious recipes. I loved the illustrations. I thought they added to the excitement and energy of each of the customs. This book will appeal to a wide audience from children to grandparents whether you are from Bulgaria or not. It’s educational, fun and very entertaining. I recommend it highly.

Interview with Bulgarian National Radio: http://bnr.bg/en/post/100570702/anelia-toncheva-the-magic-of-bulgarian-folklore-changes-bulgaria-s-perception-abroad

BABA TREASURE CHEST series of short stories / coloring books for children and adults

The Christmas ThiefThe Miracle StorkBorn From the Ashes

 

 

 

 

After writing these two books, we turned our pen to lighter fare: children’s books. These, too, have Bulgarian customs woven into the story. Although we say these short stories are for children, they are really for the entire family–in the tradition of Bulgarian storytelling, where grandparents preserve customs and pass on traditions to their grandchildren. And they are more than stories. They are activities and coloring pages to provide further entertainment for the entire family.

Interview with Bulgarian National Radio: http://bnr.bg/en/post/100638950/the-christmas-thief-or-tales-from-babas-treasure-chest-with-anelia-toncheva

Do You Like Mermaids?

Mermaids Around the WorldWe have two additions to our collection that will be available soon

Mermaid’s Gift, short story and coloring book, part of the “Baba Treasure Chest” collection.

Mermaids Around the World, an adult coloring book with 26 lovely designs by the talented Nelinda. Each page has the name of the mermaid, her origin, and a tidbit of information about her.

 

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Thank you for visiting. We hope you have learned a little a country many people are unaware of. Please be sure to leave a  comment by the end of today, August 27, 2016, for an opportunity to win one of our prizes.

All of our books are available on Amazon, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, & Smashwords. Discounts are available on the paperback versions of MYSTICAL EMONA, LIGHT LOVE RITUALS, and THE MIRACLE STORK. Contact us for discounts on the others.

 

Connect with Us

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RonesaAveela/

https://www.facebook.com/MysticalEmona/

https://www.facebook.com/BabaTreasureChest/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Ronesa_Aveela

Where to Find Our Books

Amazon: http://viewAuthor.at/Ronesa-Aveela

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/%22Ronesa%20Aveela%22

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/author/ronesa-aveela/id1088547343

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/search?query=Ronesa%20Aveela&fcsearchfield=Author

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/aveela