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 28, 2010

Writing is not Easy

Writing is not easy, really. Neither is teaching. Both careers have many things in common, and one of them is that some people seem to think that one or both are easy careers. What I mean is that some people decide to leave their first or chosen career, for whatever reason, and become a teacher instead. Or a writer.

I have known teachers who quit being a teacher because it’s just not an easy career. Too stressful, they say, or too demanding, or other reasons that boil down to the same meaning. But you know what? Writing is not so easy either. I’ve been a teacher for some twenty years, and I decided to be a writer, also, after I realized the mechanics of being a writer have improved due to technology. I began writing my first novel when I was eight years old. It was pencil on paper. Longhand, they call it. But of course that was just a kid thing, and I didn’t stick with it. Forget that my mother was less than encouraging. It just wasn’t going to happen.

But as I became a high school student, and then college, all the report writing required of me was going to be longhand or typed on a typewriter. Yeah, the old fashioned typewriter – remember those? I am an old school type of person. When I went back to college to get my Teaching Credential in 1988, even then most of my reports were typed on a typewriter. It was only one report a professor required to be written on a computer and printed out to be turned in. I remember telling him I didn’t have a computer, and he made me go to the college learning lab and use one from there. He explained it was time to start doing it that way, and some people, (like me,) needed to be forced into the new age.

He was right. But it wasn’t until I went back to college, yet again, for my Master’s degree that report writing was all done on a computer. I realized then the ease of which cut and paste made revisions happen. I would never have tried to be a novelist if it required writing an entire manuscript longhand or on a typewriter. Not a chance. But with these computers, and Microsoft Word and such, it’s something that can be done with a LOT of time saved.

Still, it doesn’t mean writing is any easier. You still need talent, you gotta have the know-how, and even with that, there is no guarantee. I have discovered, and not from personal experience, but from all the reading and research I have done, that talent alone is not enough. You could be a far superior writer, with far superior talent, with better ideas, and better prose, etc, than many published writers, and still never make it. Why? Because, in the publishing business, like in art and in acting and in music, if you have no name and/or no connections, then the chances of being discovered and “making it” are so heavily against you, it’s near impossible.

Sad, but true. Not impossible, but near impossible. Perseverance may make it happen. Without it, forget it.

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