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.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Reasons for Entering Writing Contests

The reason for entering writing contests is because it's fun. It's challenging. And it's practice. The more you do something, the better you get, no matter what it is. It was my driving force with Art. The more I drew, painted, or sculpted, the better I got. And I got real good just from practice. Then, as I chronicled in an earlier post, I actually learned the science of art from Professor Stewart at San Jose State. Yeah, believe it or not, there is a science to drawing and painting. It was developed by Leonardo da Vinci, and it's no secret to anyone in the know.

As for writing, there are formulas, like you learn from Donald Maass in his book Writing the Breakout Novel, and many others, and there is countless advice on how to write well, but I'm not sure it's a science. It's such a subjective thing. How many times have we heard that? That's the difference between Art and Writing. Sure, in art, there is the abstract movement, and all the variations of it in today's modern art world. (Actually, modern art dates back to the Nineteenth Century, but it has evolved in many subjective ways of its own.) But so many rules are broken in writing, that the subective nature of writing is way over the top. You know...you can have sentence fragments, you can use bad grammar, you don't even have to use punctuation...etc., etc...

But for the most part...the more you write the better you get. And as far as entering writing contests, even if you never win, you will still become a better writer for doing it. And, like I said...it's fun.


  1. I've been to art school, too, and yes there are some rules. But writing, I agree, it's pretty sujective.

    Are you entering any contests at the moment?

    Hope you had a great holiday weekend!

  2. Hi Terry.

    In my yesterday's post, I talked about entering Janet Reid's writing contest. I like hers the best. They're short and sweet.