Will iconic images recorded in the grooves of an ancient vase unite the Holy Land or rip it further apart?
A novel by Mark M. DeRobertis
Muhsin Muhabi is a Palestinian potter, descended from a long line of potters. His business is run from the same shop owned by his ancestors since the day his forebears moved to Nazareth. The region's conflict saw the death of his oldest son, and rogue terrorists are in the process of recruiting his youngest in their plot to assassinate the Pope and Israeli prime minister.
Professor Hiram Weiss is an art historian at Nazareth’s Bethel University. He is also a Shin Bet operative on special assignment. With the help of fellow agent, Captain Benny Mathias, he plans to destroy the gang responsible for the death of his wife and only child. He puts a bomb in the ancient vase he takes on loan from Muhsin’s Pottery Shop.
Mary Levin, the charming assistant to the director of Shin Bet, has lost a husband and most of her extended family to recurring wars and never-ending terrorism. She dedicates her life to the preservation of Israel, but to whom will she dedicate her heart? The brilliant professor from Bethel University? Or the gallant captain who now leads Kidon?
Harvey Holmes, the Sherlock of Haunted Houses, is a Hollywood TV host whose reality show just flopped. When a Lebanese restaurant owner requests his ghost-hunting services, he believes the opportunity will resurrect his career. All he has to do is exorcise the ghosts that are haunting the restaurant. It happens to be located right across the street from Muhsin’s Pottery Shop.
Sunday, January 21, 2018
The point is make sure it's ready. Make sure it is as good as it can be. Because after you send it, that's it. And trying for a Big Five publisher like Penguin Random House is an opportunity you can't mess up. That's why I spent nearly six months improving The Vase before I sent it last week. The Vase is as good as it can be right now. I am very confident in the chances it has with PRH. Or any publisher for that matter. Fingers crossed on that. Because I'll need all the luck I can get. I am still an unknown author to them. I have no credentials as far as they are concerned. They don't know me from Adam.
And that's the problem with my efforts. I'm a nobody. And nobody's like me have next to no chance with a publisher, with an agent, or whatever. Unless you're famous for one reason or another, like a former pro athlete, a movie star, a rock star, a politician, or a relative of one of those, you have to know someone, for a publisher to take notice. You have to have connections.
So having no connections and knowing no one in the publishing world makes it a long shot for me to make it with the Big Five. But nobody's have made it before. They got lucky. I hope I will too.
Thursday, January 18, 2018
Sure, you can't get your hopes up. Sure, the odds are still against me. But I believe in my stories. I believe in my writing. Meaning I'm not too humble to admit the writing is excellent. Especially now since I've been making the writing better and better every day. That means for The Vase and for John Dunn. And for Second Chance, too. I'll be getting to that one soon.
I've concentrated on improving the prose in The Vase over the last six months. And I've been working on improving the writing for John Dunn, too. I just submitted The Vase. So for the next three months, that one will be on hold. I'll try to submit John Dunn tomorrow.
So yeah. Losing a publisher is not a good thing in one way. But it's a good thing in another way. The good thing is that you get another chance to make your books better. And you get another chance to find an even better publisher.
That's what is happening now with The Vase, John Dunn, and Second Chance. I'll keep on working and working until it happens. That's all anyone can do. And I will.
Wednesday, January 3, 2018
They were still great, but in my opinion, they're better and it's because they are back to the way I wanted them to be. Of course when you go over something again after a while, you always think of new ways to make it better and that's especially true for a novel. I'm making the story and the writing a lot better for the John Dunn book because I'm thinking of new ways to make it better.
For one thing, I made a bigger deal with Dunn's acquisition of the Snider breech-loading rifle than I did at first. And I made note of another Zulu chieftain who appears in the beginning and ending. I put him in the middle too, so as not to have forgotten about him, only to see him return in the end.
In Second Chance, the initial scene that shows Tony in the alley is returned. The story ends with him in the alley, and in the way it was published the reader is surprised to find him there. But now it's back and the reader will know why he's there in the end because it's where he was at the start. At the story's conclusion we return to the scene, so to speak.
With The Vase, there were all sorts of changes that I changed back to the way I wanted them. For example, when Captain Mathias and Mary Levin fight the terrorists, I had it so that the terrorists had found Mary's gun and threw it off into the night before they engaged her in a fight. That had been deleted. But now it's back and better than ever.
So yeah. For the next few months, I will keep on making these three books better. But heck, they're already much better. Well, they'll be getting better still. All the better!
Tuesday, January 2, 2018
But the new year brings the fact that one of my other publishers will go out of business. Knox Robinson, as I had said in an earlier post, is throwing in the towel. I had placed them as a higher ranked publisher, because I was under the impression they were not a POD publisher and would get their books into bookstores. Alas, that was not to be, because they are folding this month, and that's that. The rights to John Dunn and Second Chance will be reverted to me and with that reversion comes new hope.
And what is that new hope? Another shot at the Big Five. I think an author can truly call his career a success if he makes it to the Big Five. But that takes a connection, I suppose. You look at several of the Big Five books, and many of them suck. Worse than Disney's Star Wars, too. I mean really suck. You ask yourself how is it that the Big Five published these books, when they suck so much. It's an unanswered question.
But whatever. I have three books now that are available to be placed with a new publisher. I can go with my remaining publisher, Melange, but again, I want higher stakes with those books. Melange is good for my Killer books, since they were the first publisher to believe in me. But with The Vase, John Dunn, and Second Chance, I will shoot for the moon. Why not? They are great books, with great stories, and great writing. You never know unless you try.
So while I'm still kickin' I'll keep on trying. Never give up, never surrender. that was a line from Galaxy Quest. That was a great movie, btw. Loved it.
Friday, December 29, 2017
But there's another reason the last two (in particular) Star Wars have sucked. Oh, they don't suck if you ask any Star Wars fanatic, of which there are millions. And because there are, the producers don't care about anything original. And that's what I mean regarding why the last two Star Wars sucked. (Aside from the feminist thing, I mean.) They sucked because they were just carbon copies of the first two Star Wars movies. Or Episode IV and V, as they would have them called.
The first Disney Star Wars was nothing more than a retelling of Episode IV. Except, of course the Luke Skywalker character was now a girl. And the Darth Vader character was now Princess Leia's son, complete with black robes and full face helmet/mask.
And this new one, The Last Jedi was nothing more than the retelling of Episode V, complete with the traveling of the female Luke to a distant planet to be trained by Luke, instead of Yoda, and then we find out later that she's not even Luke's daughter, as was the only thing that might have made sense of it all. But no. We don't even get that.
I understand why Disney is rehashing the original trilogy. They paid four billion bucks for the rights to make these movies. They can't take any chances for their versions to flop. Meaning, they don't dare try something original. Meaning an original story, with original characters, and an original premise. Which would have been so much better. Sure it would be in the same universe. You know, the one long ago and far, far away. With references to the original characters who might have appeared in cameos and such.
But no. It had to be the same characters: Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbaka, the two robots, a "Darth Vader" character, etc. And with the same story of a wayward character unaware of his, (now her) destiny, and the exact same premise: a rebellion against the same "evil" empire.
In a Science Fiction story, the concepts for stories are endless. Like in the original Star Trek show, almost every single episode had a completely different story, and almost all of them worked. Disney wanted to take no chances to get their 4 billion back. And they're not complaining. Because they are getting their money back. It's all they wanted. The bottom line. Money.
So expect more of the same. Disney will be happy with their money. The fans will be happy because they get to see Star Wars movies. But people who like original stories and a fresh new premise are disappointed. Doesn't matter to Disney. They still get their bank account filled. That's all.
Wednesday, December 27, 2017
Sure, the Star Wars junkies love it. They'll love anything that has the Star Wars name on it regardless of story, plot, acting, and now political correctness. For the record, I did disagree with the original Star Wars lack of female characters. It only had one female character, that being Princess Leia. But since Disney took over the Star Wars franchise, (three movies now and counting) it's all about female characters. Meaning any character that's strong, brave, commanding, self assured, and plays the role of a leader, it's going to be female.
Saturday, December 23, 2017
Yes I sent the first hundred pages to Macmillan Australia. And I've even rewritten some of those pages as well. I've got a couple months under the belt now with that submission. That leaves four more months to wait as they said it takes about six months to get back to you.
So in the meantime I've just been rewriting the prose of the story. Certainly the story is the same. But with the prose so much better, that can only help my cause. Fingers crossed.
Now the bad news. And that is yet another of my publishers is going out of business. Or in their (her) words it's "closing." That would be KRP, AKA Knox Robinson Publishing. I got the word a few days ago. Yes it is sad. I thought KRP had a lot of potential, not just for my books, but for all their books. I thought they were going nowhere but up. And with two of my books on their list, Second Chance and John Dunn, I was glad for that.
But not to be. But this bad news carries with it a silver lining. And that is the same silver lining that the closing of Penumbra Publishing had. Which is now I have another chance to rewrite those two books also. And I certainly will. Not that the writing actually needs to be improved. I've already pointed out that no matter how good the writing is, it will always get better with rewrites.
I'm focused on The Vase right now. And then I'll get back to John Dunn and Second Chance. And once the rights to those two books are reverted back to me, I'll start submitting them again for publication. It's a chance to crack the Big Five again. I will take that chance and I'll make the most of it. Which is exactly why I'm considering the closing of KRP a silver lining. Like Penumbra and The Vase, the books will be a lot better, and the chance to crack the Big Five will be highly improved.
So, really, I can't wait for it all to happen. I'm so thrilled with how good the writing is in The Vase, and I'll have the same thrill for John Dunn and Second Chance. As for Macmillan Australia? Like I said. Fingers crossed. The New Year has a lot to look forward to.