Will iconic images recorded in the grooves of an ancient vase unite the Holy Land or rip it further apart?

THE VASE

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.



Monday, May 31, 2010

Back to Work

Did the family thing. Got to get back to work. My agent has been working hard on placing my ms. and I have polished the prose even more. I was trying to reread it to get an idea for a new title, but dammit, every time I reread this thing I keep finding better ways to write it. I have concluded that, for me, at least, the writing process is ever fluid. Not like painting a painting or sculpting a sculpture, or even composing a song. For those things, there is definitely a point where there is nothing more that can be done. A point where I can say, this is done...period.

But for a novel, not so. I suppose it's because of the mere length of it. So much more goes into writing a book. The research, the many characters, the plot, the subplots, a theme, not to mention its construction - a beginning, a middle, and an ending. (Sure songs have that, but try comparing a five minute song to a 300-plus page novel.) Even the ending is not as if it's just, boom, it's over. There's the climax, the build-up to the climax, the resolution, or denouement.

So I have found, that a novel is never "done." Until it's published. Then it's done. And only then.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Submissions

Staying up late working on a new bio, and a new synopsis for Killer of Killers submissions. Still can't think of a new title. It's too late to think.

Mark Anthony had a good birthday. I bought him a new bike, the kind kids like today. Boy, times have changed since the day I was an eighth grader. Such is life.

But I've got to get back to work. I emailed my agent and told her I'd have this for her by tomorrow. At least the synopsis is done. Got to finish that bio, and think of a new title.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Happy Birthday

Today is my oldest son's birthday. His name is Mark Anthony, and he turned 14. He's a good artist and musician like his old man. A chip off the old block. He's also a black belt in Kenpo Ju Jitsu. I put him in training when he was five. Nine years later, he's pretty darn good. Wow...just think...twenty years from now, he might be as good as Trent Smith. Something to think about.

So Happy Birthday Mark Anthony.

Now, do your homework and clean your room.

Name Change?

Just a footnote to yesterday's posting about Killer of Killers. My agent advised me that I may have to change the title. She has it on submission to several publishers right now, and one of them might require it.

Well, if it means getting published by a real publisher, then, yeah, I'm game. It might require some revisions, but, hey, I'm almost always revising it anyway, even though I consider it finished. It seems I can never reread it without doing something more to it...like changing a word or sentence to improve the prose. Sometimes revising a paragraph or adding/deleting an entire scene.

If you're an author, you know what I mean.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Killer of Killers

So I finished my first novel about a year ago. It’s called KILLER OF KILLERS, and Ange Tysdal of AKA Literary, LLC is the literary agent who represents it.

Killer of Killers is about a martial arts champion. He goes by the name of Trent Smith, but it’s a fake name. I never give his real name. He trained in Tokyo, and they called him Tora over there. Midori no Me no Tora. It means the Green-Eyed Tiger.

Trent Smith is a Judan. A tenth degree black belt in Ju Jitsu. Shoji Wada, the greatest martial artist on the planet, trained him. Shoji developed his own martial art by melding Ju Jitsu with Budo. Ju Jitsu is a Japanese martial art known for its soft and flowing movements. Budo is the militaristic Japanese art of killing. That’s why Shoji called it Budo Ju Jitsu or Bu Jitsu. Mostly they train military personnel or policemen, but they also take in top ranked black belts from around the world. It’s like a martial arts graduate school.

Trent falls in love with Shoji’s granddaughter. Of course, she is very beautiful. Her name is Yoshiko. She is wooed by many, but loves only Trent. She idolized him since the day he arrived as an 18 year-old black belt and they plan to get married.

But times don’t stay happy for Trent. He moonlights in the underground fighting circuits in Japan. For ten years he dominates until news from America poisons his reputation. There is an unprecedented spread of homicides, unquenched, and unyielding. It’s an epidemic among the rich and famous, and the victims are their own families – their wives, their girlfriends, their fiancĂ©es, their children, nieces, their peers, and/or colleagues. You might notice, most of the victims are female. There is a reason for that.

But what gets to the Japanese, more than anything else, and Trent, too, is that every time a murder is committed, the murderer is acquitted. There is no justice. The general populace in Japan becomes suspicious of anything American. And after a particularly brutal fight against a contestant from China, he is banned from competing in the circuit and reviled. He doesn't like that and decides to do something about it. He goes home to make things right. But he’s in for a few surprises. Some are pleasant…many aren’t.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hello Blogging World

I'm still learning the ropes about this blogging thing. Don't know if anyone will even read it.

Whether or not anyone ever reads any of it, the words remain. So if nothing else, I know the answer to the longtime question about the tree in the forest. If no one is around when it falls, it may not make a noise, but it stays on the ground until someone finds it.

I guess I'll introduce myself. I am a writer, and I have written two novels, but I began my life as an artist. From the day I could hold a pencil, I drew pictures. I loved art. After being in a rock band in high school, I majored in art. That is after I decided I didn’t want to become a cop. My uncle, who was a cop, told me to be one. I got an AA degree in Administration of Justice and got hired by a local police department when I was 19. Hated it. Hated every minute of it. Nothing against policemen. It’s just not for me.

So I went to San Jose State, and got my Bachelor’s Degree in art. It was the hey day of the abstract movement. Most art professors at SJS tried to sway me to their way of thinking. I dabbled with the expressionistic style, but I stayed a realist – a traditionalist. I liked the professors over there, no matter what style they used, or what style they taught. But one professor stood from the rest. He was Professor Maynard D. Stewart. Even though I considered myself a good artist, I can say he taught me how to be a great one. I am forever grateful to Mr. Stewart. Needless to say, he was a traditionalist.

But to my dismay, I learned that being a great artist is nothing special. The world has no shortage of great artists – even great artists with college degrees. Every place that hired artists already had their quota of great artists. So I got my teaching credential. Now I am an art teacher. It’s fun. The kids, most of them, are terrific. They love to learn how to draw and how to work with ceramic clay. So I have made my living as a teacher. Got my Master’s Degree, too – in Education. And it was then I discovered my love of writing.

The SJS professors in charge of the Master’s Degree program liked my writing. They said as much. I found out how easy it was to write on computers. Heck, the cutting and pasting makes revisions effortless. After I had sculpted so many sculptures, drew so many pictures, painted so many paintings, composed so many songs, and played so much music, I realized it was writing that nailed it for me.

Tomorrow, I shall talk about my first novel – Killer of Killers.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Star is Born

This is weird. My first blog entry. It feels strange. This is what it must feel like when you're born.

It's cool, though. I've been a lurker for so long, I always wondered what it would be like to actually be a blogger. I don't even know if I'm doing it right.

Well, I'll see how it turns out. Tomorrow, maybe I start this thing for real.