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.
Friday, December 30, 2011
And I have made it better, no doubt. Mostly I've improved the prose as I do every time a reread one of my manuscripts. Even after having THE VASE undergo two professional edits, I recently reread that one, too, and improved the prose still again. So as I've said many times, your manuscript, really, is never finished until it's been PUBLISHED and is a PRINTED BOOK.
Anyway, I figure to finish this most recent revision of KOK, and submit it tomorrow. Maybe today.
Thursday, December 29, 2011
That means this weekend I'll get back to JOHN DUNN. It hurts to take time away from that one, since it's my WIP. I really don't believe in getting sidetracked. I'm the kind of man who begins something and finishes it.
But OK. It'll get finished. Very soon. And then THAT will be the one I'll be revising over and over. Just like I did with the others. I have found the revision process to be the most fun, anyway. And make no mistake... I'm enjoying this a lot.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
But that doesn't mean that the JOHN DUNN story is now on the backburner. No way. I'm so close to finishing that one, and I look forward to finishing it, and getting that one published too.
I am very hopeful that in the coming year, I'll have both KOK and THE VASE published, perhaps by two different publishers. And KOK has a sequel, too.
As for John Dunn? I'll be back to work on that in a heartbeat. I figure to finish the chapter I'm on right now, which is the concluding battle of the Zulu War, and then one more chapter after that. This might be my greatest book yet. Still, KOK remains my favorite. That's all.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Not so anymore. I have found a new publisher who is interested in KOK. And why wouldn't they be? It's about the world's greatest martial artist, after all. The story revolves around a wonder drug that cures all disease! It includes a secret society of immortal supermen! I mean how could a publisher not be interested in that? Don't tell me they just want stories about benevolent teenaged vampires, or training schools for teen witches, I won't believe it.
No, this is no romance publisher, either. They want dark stories with cutting edge fiction. They specify speculative fiction and subversive fiction among other genres. Yes, KILLER OF KILLERS is right up their alley. It's such a great story, I love it more every time I read it. So I'm going to read KOK one more time. Polish it up, still, one more time, and send it... fingers crossed.
Monday, December 26, 2011
But I didn't get any writing done this past weekend. Because I have a wife, kids, and visiting family. OK, that's all right.
I have always marveled at those women who blog about having a supportive husband who works and supports them, while they have no job other than to write their books.
Well, everyone has their own circumstance and however they get it done is great for them. I'm almost done. Just a little bit more.
Friday, December 23, 2011
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
But you know what? When I reread portions of what I've written so far, I like it. Sometimes I get the notion to post segments on here. Don't know if that's a good idea. Better if I let some of those British dudes on the Zulu War forum check it out. I think that might be a good idea.
Oh well. Keep it going. That's all.
Friday, December 16, 2011
For instance, when I was perusing excerpts from books on that publisher's list a few days ago, I came across a few stories that had excellent writing. But as I explained in an earlier post, one of them was downright disgusting and a major turn off.
Another one, despite its good writing, could have put even the most avid reader to sleep. I mean, nothing was happening. It was about a guy on a bus. And for the first two pages, the writer described people on the bus. It's like, OK, the guy is on a bus. Now what? I didn't read any further. The author gave no reason to care about the guy or the people on that bus.
And finally, there is a point of overdoing good writing. I was reading another excerpt and I couldn't even tell you what the story was about, but the writing was so intricately worded, that it reminded me of an over-decorated Christmas tree. It occurred to me while reading that particular sample that this writer was going way overboard to prove that he could really write.
OK, but it was just too much. Tell a good story, dammit. That's the bottom line.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Monday, December 12, 2011
But that doesn't mean it's time off for the writer. I should make double progress on my WIP, and maybe I'll even finish it. That's the goal. Finish by the end of the year. We'll see if it gets done.
Friday, December 9, 2011
And I'm still not fully researched. I'm doing it as I go along. I've got the Battle at Isandlwana completely researched, and I've got that chapter finished now too. It's been like that the whole way. Now I'm researching the Battle at Gingindlovu, and it's especially pertinent, because Dunn had joined up with Chelmsford by then. He was the one who advised Chelmsford that the Zulus were nearby, after discovering their whereabouts by swimming up a river under a fallen tree. Pretty good stuff. And all historically accurate.
It makes me wonder if I had set a deadline instead of a goal, would I have been finished by now. Maybe a deadline would have made me buckle down more with more determination to finish. Maybe. But it would have gotten me in more trouble with the wife, that's for sure.
Anyway, my goal is the end of the year now. Hope I make that one.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
I've been waiting to get to this point because I have Dunn's memoir, and Dunn writes about that event. It's when he agrees to assist Chelmsford. But Dunn makes it clear in his memoir that Chelmsford is not one of his favorite people. Not by a long shot.
So, the Battle of Gingindlovu is next and then the end of the war, as the British finally overwhelm the Zulus and capture their king who happens to be Dunn's best friend. Dunn is not happy about any of it, and he never sees his friend, the Zulu king again.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
So not only do I use that ability to critique my own writing, I also use it to determine who writes well and who doesn't. And a lot of people out there do indeed write well. But, damn, a lot just don't. What really gets me is that there are agents out there who toot horns for their clients and even contest participants who just plain don't write well.
I have read some very average samples (even horrendous) in both books and contests, and I shake my head. Yet these are published works or contest winners. Just goes to show you that it's all subjective. Bad writing to one person is good writing to another. There you go.
Monday, December 5, 2011
Friday, December 2, 2011
I won't self-publish because I want to know that I made it in the publishing world. But that might be the wrong attitude. Having a traditional publisher publish your work, really, is only a part of "making it." The real determining factor is sales. If, say, Harper Collins, or any other of the big six publishes your book, but it doesn't sell, then you really didn't "make it" in the publishing world after all.
The bottom line is sales. Did your book sell or not? If it did, then you are successful. Doesn't matter if you self-pubbed. But if it didn't, even if it's Simon and Schuster publishing your book, then you really were not a successful novelist at all.