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.
Monday, December 31, 2012
So, even though I haven't seen the entire contract, I only know the royalties, I suspect I will go with them, if they do offer the contract. Yeah, there might be some sticking points, but then again, there might not be. I'm pretty experienced with contracts now. I've been offered, let's see, one, two three, four, five of them to this point, NOT including two others from agents.
Of the three publisher contracts I signed, Virtual Tales was a good one, Cogito was a bad one, and Melange was acceptable. But this latest one, is also acceptable. It just depends on which of the latest ones is best. We'll see.
But as far as the year o 2012 is concerned, Killer of Killers is published, and I'm working on polishing up the sequel, Killer Eyes right now. I will submit it to Melange. They will be the publisher for that series. It seems right. They were the ones who took a chance on it, and I hope it continues to do well. Killer Eyes is the continuation of that story. And I plan on wrapping it up with one more. I'll call it The Killers Guild. Hopefully I can write that one this summer. We'll see.
Friday, December 21, 2012
That gave no time for preparation. No time to buy presents, and no time to visit with relatives. I'm the kind of person who is not into doing things on a work night. Things like traveling, partying, even going to the movies. I don't even like to go out to dinner on a work night.
I get up at 6 a.m. to be at school by seven, and that means I usually want to hit the sack by 11. Sometimes when I'm writing or revising my books, I'll be up after that, but not too long. I need to get a decent night's sleep, so once midnight hits, it doesn't matter where I am in my writing, I force it off.
Not like over the summer time. I've been up as late as five in the morning writing away at the computer, and those nights see a lot of progress. It's usually when I'm writing the first draft. And when it's the first draft, you are very glad to see a lot of progress. You're shooting for the finish line, and you won't get there if you don't put the time in to get it done.
But now, it's Christmas, and I have to focus on other things besides writing. Like my kids, my wife, and my relatives. And I still have a third of The Vase to finish in the POV revisions. It's the second pass through, but I'm glad I'm doing it. It's going more slowly than I thought. I was supposed to be done last week. It's okay. What's a week when it comes to preparing a manuscript for publication?
Thursday, December 20, 2012
If I had a connection and got my books published before I improved them, then that would have been nice to have that time cut shorter, but then my writing wouldn't have been at the level it is now. I would have been content to just be published. And although the writing was good enough, it just wasn't as good as it is now.
My second book, The Vase is another example of being better after some time. If Virtual Tales or even Cogito did publish The Vase, it would have been a good story, with good writing. Now, it's a great story with great writing. And it only took maybe a year more for it to happen. I think any writer who is interested in their writing to be as good as possible would make that trade. Well, maybe some wouldn't, but this writer here says, yeah, I'll make that trade.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
And from reading the many writer's blogs, agent blogs and even a book on how to write a breakout novel, I did learn those things, and subsequently made those changes. But, for me, there was more. I continued to learn from publishers who were interested in publishing my books, even those who didn't end up doing it, and, of course, from those who did and/or will.
That's where editors came in for me. And not all editors were the same. I had one with Virtual Tales, one with Cogito, two with Melange, and now, one with yet another publisher, even though I haven't signed a contract with that publisher yet.
The plan is that after I complete the first round of edits, as suggested by this new publisher, I will resubmit, with the probable result being a contract. And through it all, I have learned how to write in the way that editors who work for publishers want their authors to write.
And I did it all with no connections. It was hard work, mostly, and perseverance, with a good deal of ability and patience to make it come to being published, not with just one publisher, but two, fingers crossed, which proves that, even if you have no connections, it can be done.
Better if you have connections though. That would be a nice shortcut.
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Monday, December 17, 2012
So, yes, KOK is third person limited, but there's a few places where it's more omniscient. It still works, and I have no regrets at all. It's my favorite story, my favorite book and all that. It's just that if I was to write it now, I would do it just a tad bit differently. Like I am with The Vase. And when I get back to revising Killer Eyes and John Dunn, I'll concentrate on those points, too. As for The Vase, I had hoped to finish it by yesterday, but I'm almost there. Should be done this week.
I know I said that last week, but I've already learned not to rush things like that. I'm giving it another read through to catch all the things I missed in my first read through. Just one more week.
Friday, December 14, 2012
I'll be his beta reader, as he's been mine. He found a couple errors in my KOK manuscript,, and I got them fixed, so it's important to have that beta reader. I'll be watching for POV issues in his manuscript, too. Paying close attention to that while your writing saves a lot of trouble later.
Have a nice weekend.
Thursday, December 13, 2012
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
But in The Vase, I am now more experienced with handling this type of thing. As with anything, the more you do something the better you get, and almost always, your second time at something has better results. So it is with The Vase. Even though Killer of Killers is by far my personal favorite story, and Trent Smith is by far my number one favorite character, The Vase is a better written novel, and I'm referring specifically to POV.
But people say that Hunger Games and the Twilight books were not well written. And the same thing is being said about the Shades of Grey books. But they must have something going for them to be so successful. Which is proof that perfect writing is not really a necessity in the ultimate success of a book.
But I'm thinking The Vase will have all of it. Good writing and that something else. We'll see.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
As for the other publisher who's interested in The Vase, they sent me a contract yesterday. It's okay, as contracts go. It offered 40% across the board. Melange gives 40%, too, for digital. but 10 % for print. Virtual Tales offered 50% for both and so does this other publisher with whom I've been in contact. The worst contract was from Cogito. They offered 10% for print and only 15% for digital. Well, there's another one even worse, if you can believe it. The first publisher to offer a contract for The Vase, I won't name, but their royalties were 10% across the board.
Yeah, I'll take the 50% across the board, thank you very much. So now, it's a matter of finishing those revisions, and I should be done by the end of this week. Can't wait to get home and get it done!
Monday, December 10, 2012
And I am nearly done. I put a lot of work into it this past week, and I'd say by this week I will be done. Then what? Well, I'll send it to the publisher for whom I reworked it. And what of the other publisher? Well, it depends. The questions I posed last week will be pertinent. Which one is the more established publisher, and the contract terms, certainly, will be a factor.
The bottom line is that The Vase will be published, and a contract should be signed this month. Which means that it could be out as soon as this coming summer. But that all remains to be seen. The good thing is that it is all coming together. Even the rewrites. They are working. And The Vase is better than ever. But for which publisher? That is the question.
Friday, December 7, 2012
So now what do I do? I suppose a contract in hand is better than one in the bush. But still. Which one has higher royalties? Which one is more likely to sell the book? Which one has books already selling well? Which one is more established and less likely to tank, like what happened to the first publisher who had offered a contract for The Vase.
Or which publisher is less likely to be a flaky publisher, like the second publisher who had offered a contract for The Vase. Those are serious questions to me. I guess it's better to have two publishers interested than one. And better one than none. But not always. It would have been better to have NO publisher than a publisher like Cogito. No need to rehash that experience, it's all documented on this blog. If you want to know about it, just click on the archives under Cogito.
Well, this is a good thing. Stay tuned.
Thursday, December 6, 2012
So the moral of this situation is to listen to your editors. Is the Third Person Limited narrative better than third person omniscient? I wouldn't go so far as to say it is, but I can tell you editors believe it.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Anyway, those distractions I talked about the other day kept me from making too much progress yesterday, but at least I got something done. And that's my plan. Something done everyday if I'm going to be finished by this month. Keep on truckin'.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
But whatever. I'm not complaining that I have a full time job, two sons, and a wife. But when it comes to distractions, those things more than qualify. I'm lucky if I get even an hour in the day to write. And right now, I wish I could go all day. It's because I'm eager to finish the rewrite, or revisions to The Vase. A publisher is waiting on it, and that is something worth working toward.
If only it was summertime, then I'd have a couple more hours a day to get this done. Heck, I'd be done by now. Still, I should be done by this month.
Monday, December 3, 2012
I mean, I only revised Killer of Killers a kazillion times. And I'll probably end up revising The Vase that many times, too. Right now I'm just short of it. But I'll get there.
But this time, The Vase has a publisher waiting. I mean I think it does. They said as much. But I won't divulge the publisher until after the contract has been offered and I've signed it. Then it will be official. In a couple more weeks, I should be finished. In the meantime, just keep on truckin'.