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, December 31, 2013
But don't be clueless. I mean, there are people out there, even relatives of mine, that have said they don't know how to order them. Sheesh. If following the directions on the publisher's website is beyond your comprehensive capacity, then go to Amazon.com. The Melange website (publisher for Killer of Killers) even has a link to Amazon if that's what you'll need to do.
My stats page says that literally hundreds of people from all over the world are viewing pages on this blog. That is exciting to me, and it will keep me blogging. But let's start buying books, people! It doesn't matter what country you live in, or what part of the world you're from, as long as you speak and read English, you will enjoy the action-filled, thrilling, and suspenseful stories that both Killer of Killers and The Vase have to offer.
After all, Killer of Killers takes place not only in America, (New York, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Bemidji, and St. Paul,) it also takes place in Tokyo, Japan. As for The Vase, it takes place both in Nazareth, Israel, and even Hollywood. But the stories, and the characters, the plots, the subplots, the suspense, everything, is what will make both books worthwhile to read.
But you've got to buy them first. Doesn't matter to me if you buy the print or digital copies.Sheesh, the eBooks will only cost 2.99 (The Vase) or 5.99 (Killer of Killers) so it won't break the bank. And if you prefer print, like I do, then an extra ten bucks won't dent anyone's bank account, either. You won't be disappointed. I'm confident for that. You decide. Let me know what you think.
Monday, December 30, 2013
What did I get? Well, there was some fantasy, so check, there was some romance, so check, there was some adventure, and check, but even though there was some action, it wasn't action packed, so no check. And as for exciting? No check. It wasn't exciting. Not really.
And as for the other items that did find a check, you'll note I only said there was SOME, but in none of the cases were there a lot. Not even close.
Well, the fantasy was there, and just enough to be acceptable, because I didn't want too much fantasy in what was supposed to have been based on a true story. But the adventure fell short. Being set in feudal Japan, with witches, demons, samurai warriors, and a Shogun, how could it not have had adventure? Still, this movie fell short on adventure, and that's not all. For a movie like that, I would have wanted more action, too, more romance, and absolutely more excitement.
Because it was void of excitement. Maybe Keanu Reeves is getting too old for a part like that. Maybe he was just young enough, but imo, he didn't LOOK young enough. He looked too old. No, he wasn't wrinkled, or gray haired, but he was far from the young, vital, and energetic character we all saw in the Matrix movies. Had he looked like that, it would have been much better, but he didn't, and it wasn't. I know time catches up with all of us, but considering it's catching up with him, just as it is with other stars of his generation, maybe it would have been wise to seek out an actor still in his thirties. Especially since the romantic subplot had him paired with a very young and beautiful Japanese girl, and the story made it clear that they were supposed to be the same age, because they met as kids, and they were about the same age as kids. But as adults, Keanu was waaayy older than the young Japanese actress who played the part of the Japanese girl who had grown up.
|Keanu in 47 Ronin-too old|
|Keanu in The Matrix. Just right, minus the shades|
But the movie wasn't a failure. It was okay. Just okay. But really, okay is just not good enough. I don't think so. And I don't believe anyone else thinks so either. It could have been great. Unfortunately, it wasn't.
Friday, December 27, 2013
Thursday, December 26, 2013
And if you do, drop me a line for some feedback. The sequel to Killer of Killers is now being revised, and I expect to publish it sometime in 2014.
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Merry Christmas everyone!
Monday, December 23, 2013
Promotional price: $0.00
Coupon Code: EY69H
Expires: December 24, 2013
I have always been the kind of person who finishes what he's started. And even though Killer Eyes and John Dunn are finished, they are not revised, and a book is not finished until after the revisions are finished. Boy have I learned that by now. A dozen times over, in fact.
But it's always nice to have a new project on the horizon. Something to look forward to and it keeps you going. Once Killer Eyes and John Dunn are published, I will write my third KOK book, and then start my new project. I'll talk more about it later. Until then...keep writing!
Friday, December 20, 2013
In the meantime, if anyone out there is considering one or both of the books as a Christmas present, which one would be the better present?
That depends on who would be reading them. If it's a man, over age 18, and he likes Jason Statham movies, or Vin Diesel movies, or martial arts movies starring anyone, then Killer of Killers is the right book for him. But women have loved Killer of Killers, too, by the way. It's not just about killing. It's a romance, a very good romance, but there is a lot of fighting, a lot of killing, and action scenes galore.
The Vase, on the other hand, is a completely different kind of book. I wouldn't call it an action thriller, like Killer of Killers is. It's more of a suspense. There's action, there's romance, and there's suspense of a different kind. A buildup to the climax, which results in a surprise appearance of a special person in history. The person for whom Christmas is celebrated. That's right. Jesus Christ himself makes an appearance in The Vase. I don't think that's a spoiler. I won't go into it any more than that. But it does qualify The Vase as a book that would be suitable as a Christmas present.
Once you read it, you will see what I mean. But you'll have to buy it first. Click on the images to right, and buy your copies today!
Thursday, December 19, 2013
I guess that's a risk I'll be taking. All I can do is ask, or inquire if they would be open to buying bookstore copies to put on their shelves, but if they don't know anything about the book why should they do that? After all, they never heard of me or the book. But if they were to read a copy, and then realize that they liked it, perhaps that's when they would be inclined to buy copies to sell in their stores.
I mean it sounds logical. More so than if I didn't offer a book for them to read. I suppose it could backfire. I could give away all ten of my copies, and then all ten stores never do anything after that. There's no guarantee they'll even read it, but such is life. There are very few guarantees about anything. If any at all.
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
But that doesn't mean you can't buy your very own copy outside of the Bay Area. After all, Amazon.com is always there, and it's there for anyone who lives anywhere in the world. So if you are reading this, and you don't live in the Bay Area, or no matter where you live for that matter, even in another country on the other side of the world, all you have to do is visit Amazon.com, just like you might for anything else you'd be buying from them. Or just click on the image to the right of this post, and you can buy your copy from the Melange website, too. No matter where you live. That's the great thing about the internet. It's there and it's accessible to anyone anywhere.
Still, there are those people who do things the old-fashioned way. Like actually going to stores, shopping, and browsing. And then just happening to find something that they might want to buy. Those buyers are a high percentage of the buyers of books. And it would behoove me to get Killer of Killers and The Vase into bookstores at as many locations as possible. My work is definitely cut out for me.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
My plan is to give a free copy to whomever it is in charge of ordering books. Believing that person will like my books, I'm then hoping that same person will then order books from Melange or Penumbra to sell at his/her store.
The drugstores probably won't work, because I've already talked to someone at Walgreen's for instance, and whomever it was I talked to informed me that the decisions of what books to stock in Walgreen's book section is made by someone somewhere else, which wasn't anyone at that particular store.
As for libraries, I don't doubt they would take a book or two to stock on their shelves, but that really wouldn't help me as far as sales is concerned, would it? I don't think so. That's the whole point of libraries. Libraries offer the opportunity to read books without having to buy them. And if I give a copy or two to the local library, then that will preclude the need to buy one. Maybe I could loan a copy to whomever it is in charge of buying books for their shelves. I'll have to check on that.
But bookstores, like the local Barnes and Nobles should be my best bet. I can meet with the B&N mannager, like I have done before, and give them a free copy in the hopes that they will then stock his/her shelves with books ordered from my publishers. (That time, however, that particular B&N closed down a month later, but there's another one a little father away.)
And there are smaller bookstores still around, and I'll do the same thing for them. Because the cover to Killer of Killers is so awesome, I'm hoping it will draw interest once it's on a bookstore's shelves, and then prompt sales. That's how it works sometimes. And I think it will work for KOK, too. As for The Vase, well I like the cover, but it might take a little more investigation for that one on the part of the buyer. Unlike KOK, I don't think the cover will prompt sales. But anyone interested in the Middle East, the Palestinian situation, the world of Ghost Hunters, and a great plot, story line and interesting characters, will like that book. Even Christians, Muslims, and Jews will like it.
Why? Well, because the main characters are Palestinian Muslims and Israeli Jews. Well, one of the Israelis is really an agnostic, but things change. For the better? Or for the worse? Well, you'll have to read The Vase to find out. Let me know what you think when you do.
BUY YOUR COPIES TODAY!
Monday, December 16, 2013
I learned so much from Penumbra Publishing when they published The Vase that I just had to apply those lessons to Killer of Killers, and Melange was cool enough to allow it. And why wouldn't they? After all, it's a Melange publication, so logically, they would want one of their books to be at a standard of writing that would make them look good. So it happened, and now it's done!
That means it's time to buy people! Killer of Killers is ready to be read! Now more than ever. All of that work that I had been blogging about over the past five months, (yes, since July!) in the revisions to Killer of Killers, the editing, if you will, the fixing, for lack of better word, is done, and I am thrilled for that. Just holding the book is a thrill. Reading parts here and there is also a lot of fun.
But for a reader, someone who enjoys a great story, a great character, a great plot, and great villains, this book is for you. Oh, there's great action, too, by the way, and even great romance. Killer of Killers has it all. So no, it's not just about killing. But like the title suggests, the people who kill get their due. It's one of my favorite quotes in the book. "Justice is rendering each killer that which is his due." That's what Trent Smith says to Abraham Soriah when Soriah asks him for his definition of justice. It's a great quote. A spot on quote! It's in Killer of Killers! Buy your copy today!!
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Not that it was a disaster before, but it didn't meet the standards I had reached after the editing to The Vase at Penumbra Publishing. Fortunately Melange Books was on board with bringing those standards up to my newfound expectations, and after three months of constant upgrading, meaning revisions to the above specifics of focused improvement, Killer of Killers, the second edition is ready for all comers!
So that means no more waiting! Anyone and everyone who might have been inclined to buy a copy, well, now's the time to act on that inclination! I'm busy with the sequel right now, even though it's already done, just working on revisions now, but Killer of Killers is ready to be bought, to be read, to be thoroughly enjoyed, and I dare say, ready for any and all reviews. I am confident it will hold up to any potential criticisms, and pass all expectations of literary standards and creative storytelling. (The storytelling, actually was always there.)
So don't wait on it. Let me know what you think. I'm game. I'm ready. Even for suggestions or for what people might want to see in the sequel. Slip me a note. Let me know. Maybe I'll put it in there. I always add stuff during the revisions stages anyway. I did it for both Killer of Killers and The Vase. I could do it for Killer Eyes, too Or The Killers Guild. Not sure about the title yet. That's another thing that might change. But we'll see.
In the meantime, click on images to the right. Don't be a faker. Buy one or both books today. Not tomorrow, because tomorrow's already here!
Friday, December 13, 2013
Regardless, there is something else that is just as important as a commitment to writing. And that is promoting your work. I've promoted both Killer of Killers and The Vase since publication, but there is so much more I can do. I've decided that it will be necessary to get free books to people who would be most likely to enjoy the books, but people who are also in a position to see those books made available to others who would be likely to buy them.
The most obvious people are people in book stores. Meaning the people who own, run, or work in bookstores. I'll have to have a small collection of my books and take them to these people. Tell them about the books, let them have a free copy, and hope that they will take the time to read them. Once they do, I'm confident they will enjoy the stories and then order some copies to sell in their bookstore.
So, yeah. That's my next step. Just as soon as I get my copies from Melange. I'll keep you posted on that progress.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
I'm not saying my books are better books than the great classics now. I'm not saying they're up there with Melville's Moby Dick, or Dicken's A Tale of Two Cities, and the like. No, I'm talking about the popular novels of current times. You know, the ones that have become movies the last few years. Big movies, too. Not only do I not like them, they are actually repulsive to me.
Novels are works of art. And art is subjective. Isn't that what every literary agent tells you when you solicit their representation? It's subjective. And I like the books I've written way better than those written by J.K. Rowling, Suzanne Collins, Stephenie Meyer, or E.L. James. I'll take Killer of Killers and The Vase over Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Twilight, or Fifty Shades of Grey any day. And yes, I've picked them up at book stores and read the beginnings of them. Didn't catch my interest at all.
But Killer of Killers and The Vase? Those are books for me. Great stories, great characters, and yes, even great themes. There are lessons to be learned in both of those novels. Once you've read them, I think you'll agree. Try them out. Get a copy of one or both, and after you've read them, let me know. I'll be here.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
So anyway, here's how Killer of Killers starts:
Side note: The changes I made from the first edition to the second edition, here in the Prologue, are all about maintaining a consistent 3rd Person Limited POV. Which is quite significant to anyone who understands the specifics of that. And anyone who has read the two versions should see the difference immediately. And anyone who is reading this for the first time, well, even better, since it's the best and final version of the book, after all. And I'm very happy with it. Yes, very happy indeed. So my thanks to Nancy at Melange Books for her hard work in making it happen.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
But hey, it was my first ever review! I didn't know I was supposed to thank the guy! I sure wish I did. Because I sure feel bad that I didn't. And since then? No more reviews. No one bothers. But how can I blame anyone? I don't give any reviews, so I'm just as guilty. Because I don't read anyone's books. I really believe that most if not all authors are just like me. They don't read anyone else's books, just sit on their own books, and hope someone reads their books. Perhaps that guy was an exception. The one exception. The lone author who bothered to read someone else's book, and I was lucky enough that it was mine he chose to read. And he gave it the greatest review I could have hoped for.
There is one thing I won't do. PAY for a review. That is just pure bullshit. It's paying someone to give you a good review. You know they will. Because if an author pays someone to give his/her book a review, and then it's a bad review, well... no more business from that author! These kind of reviewers are nothing more than literary prostitutes, no? They want to get paid for it. Yeah, I've checked online for book reviewers, and that's what I found out. They want money for doing it. Just like a whore. So that means one thing. It's not a real review. Not even close to being real.
Nope. But that guy a year ago, I didn't even know who he was. Didn't know him from Adam. I just thought that he was someone who happened to pick up the book and then read it. And then wrote a review because, 1-he liked it, and 2-he liked it so much he wanted to write a good review!
Here's to hoping someone else will read Killer of Killers and like it just as much. And The Vase, too, by the way. That one's bound to lift some spirits. Enough to get a good review? I hope so. We'll see. But when will we see? Who knows? In the meantime, I have to get these books in some bookstores. Get them seen. By book READERS, not just book writers. People who actually want to READ books. And then I'll have a better chance to get reviews. And the beat goes on.
Monday, December 9, 2013
And since then, I've had two of my books published. Killer of Killers and The Vase. I'm in the revision stage for Killer Eyes now, and that will probably take me half a year.
Christmas is coming soon, and with a wife and two sons, aged 17 and 11, that will be a major time for me to consider taking off from writing. I always want each Christmas to be the best for my sons. And then back to writing. It's a blast, for me, anyway. I'll be at it more than ever now.
Friday, December 6, 2013
Thursday, December 5, 2013
But Nancy was relieved that the corrections needed were "few" as she said. Only two. And that is few. So she said she'll fix those things, and the second edition of Killer of Killers will be released by December 12th. Stay tuned.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
So for the second edition of KOK, I thought about using a common martial arts image, of a fist and hand. I found the image I was looking for, which was this:
By the way, right now, the PRINT copy is reloaded. So anyone who wants the PRINT version to hold in their hand, to physically turn paper pages, then it's ready to buy. Just click on the image to the right and the Lulu link is where you go for your print copy. For digital copies, though, better wait another couple of days. I'll let you know.
Monday, December 2, 2013
Just thought I'd clarify. I'm hoping to stir up interest. And perhaps I'll post another excerpt tomorrow. Check back to see, if you're interested. Until then.
Sunday, December 1, 2013
So here's the excerpt:
End of excerpt. Maybe I'll make this a regular thing. That passage was written in the very first draft, by the way, and had undergone very little revision in the months and years that followed. I've always been partial to it, and I'm glad it survived all the editing since then.
Friday, November 29, 2013
And that's because artists should be perfectionists. I talked about it recently on one of my blog posts. Being a perfectionist is what makes art great. If you're not a perfectionist, then why bother making art at all. And don't forget, writing novels is an art.
When I started being an artist, that is drawing with a pencil, I wanted my art to be as good as I could make it. Then when I started painting, I had the same goal, the same objective. And the same thing when I started sculpting. And then the same thing when I started writing songs.
And then I started writing novels. Like the other subjects, it was a learning experience. But the learning happened. Like with everything, the more I did it, the better I got, and now, as The Vase and the second edition of Killer of Killers will attest, the writing is something of which I can be very proud. I read these books over and over, and I can't help but to be pleased every time.
As soon as I get the advance print copy of KOK, 2nd Edition, and okay it, I'll use my next shipment of books for promotions and reviews. That means I'll be hitting all the bookstores in town. And that will be exciting for me. In the meantime, stay tuned, because I will let you know on this blog when the 2nd edition is ready to purchase on line. Until then.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
I was glad I found an agent who loved Killer of Killers. But as I've chronicled on this blog, that agent retired soon afterward, and the subsequent agents who inherited KOK in that agency, imo, did not share the same enthusiasm, and nothing really happened after that. So I became unagented and published shortly thereafter.
That's seems weird, doesn't it? But that's how it happened. So what would any writer prefer? Being agented and unpublished or being unagented and published.
Well, I choose the latter, and that's what I am. And for that I am thankful. And, by the way, I'm twice published. With two different publishers. And that was a long road, well chronicled on this blog, too. Especially for The Vase. A long and winding road for that one.
Strangely, Killer of Killers was accepted by the second publisher to whom I submitted--Melange, and I have been pleased with them, especially their willingness to cooperate with my perfectionist ways. But they have done everything I've asked them to do. And more.
Oh, make no mistake, I am very happy with Penumbra, too. If not for them, I wouldn't have the knowledge with which I could be that perfectionist. It's all a great collection of events, and results, and all of it thanks only to my own hard work, my perseverance, and willingness to stick it out. I never quit. I came close to considering it a couple times. But in the end, here I am, and with two more books still in queue.
Killer Eyes, the sequel to KOK, and John Dunn, Heart of a Zulu are up next. Stay tuned.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
It's weird though. Before, (a year ago,) there was no problem with the blank page, meaning in the first edition of Killer of Killers word doc files and in The Vase word doc files, the blank page is right there visible. But now, with Killer of Killers, the second edition file, the blank page only appears when it is actually printed. You don't see it when you open the file.
I wonder why it's like that now. No matter. Just to be sure, I went ahead and printed the first few pages, and sure enough, the page that was supposed to be blank was indeed blank. Which means it's all fixed and ready to go.
Nancy said she is sending me an advanced copy of the print book, and I should receive it within a few days, and if it's all good, then I give the green light to proceed with the reloading for all the eBooks, and the Lulu print books, too.
That will be exciting for me, because that's when I will get aggressive in my promotional efforts, more so than ever before. Now that I have nothing to fear from any reviewers, insofar as prose, POV, verb usage, and just plain old good writing is concerned. It's going to pass even the staunchest critics, like Grayson over there at Penumbra. It's Grayson who taught me all the details of POV 3rd person limited.
That's not to say that Nancy and Melange were remiss. They told me about it, too, it's just that they didn't get over the top strict about it like Grayson at Penumbra did when he was editing The Vase.
But I'm the kind of person, the kind of writer, that is, who wants my writing to be over the top perfect, so that it will pass the staunchest scrutiny. And after working so hard on making The Vase as good as it is, I concentrated on making Killer of Killers just as good. I succeeded, and now both books are fantastic.
You can see for yourself. Buy a copy of either one. But wait on Killer of Killers. It hasn't been reloaded just yet. Maybe by next week. I'll let you know.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Okay, so I let them know, and then they sent me a "fixed" version, but then the "fixed" version had no blank page at all. It's like ????
Okay, so I let them know and then they sent me two versions. One with no blank page to be used, they explained for digital copies...okay...and another with no cover that would be used for print versions, with the cover to be loaded at time of printing. Okay.
Except for now, on the Quotes page, which precedes the blank page, the bottom date that goes to one of the quotes was missing. You see, in Killer of Killers, like a lot of books I've read or seen, there is a page dedicated to some quotes. I used three. One by a 17th Century English Puritan named Richard Norwood, one by my favorite author of all time, Robert E. Howard, and one by Martin Luther King. It's King who is quoted last, (because his quote is the most chronologically recent,) and since his was on the bottom, the date, 1963, was mysteriously missing from both the eBook copy and the no cover print copy!
So Okay, I let them know, and Nancy fixed it, and sent me back another copy, but now it has no blank page again! Not sure if this is just an eBook copy or what. It did have the cover with it, so I let her know this morning, and that's where it stands right now.
I'm just going to be glad when it's finished. But I have to make sure it's all correctly done. After all, this is the final reload, no matter what. And I didn't spend the last six months making the writing and POV and everything else perfect, just for some mix up in the reloading to happen.
We'll see. Poor Nancy. She's working so hard on this, and every time I have to tell her that something isn't right. It must be very frustrating. But for everyone involved. Fingers crossed it will be finalized today.
Sunday, November 24, 2013
I will most certainly post on this blog when that is done, and then I will order some new copies for myself to make available to reviewers, whom I will solicit more aggressively. I am so proud of how this second edition turned out, it's about experience, and practice, and with both of those under my belt now, I used all of that additional knowledge, (POV, verb usage, dialogue tags, etc,) that I learned from Penumbra for Killer of Killers, and it's a beautifully written book now. It was great before, but it's over the top great now.
Killer of Killers, the second edition will pass any reviewer's scrutiny now. The 3rd person limited POV is flawless, and there is no head hopping at all.
I went and looked at some big name books from big name publishers, and I found POV errors in them. So that means that MY book, Killer of Killers, and The Vase, too, btw, are both better written. I have no compunction in saying that. I'm not going to name names, but after all the work I put in on both of those books, I feel validated in saying it.
Check them out, and see for yourself. That's all. Until the reload is complete, though, stay tuned.
Friday, November 22, 2013
In the meantime, I'll be waiting for the release of the second edition of Killer of Killers. It's so good right now, I'm just so excited about it. The first edition is good for collectors, but the second edition is great for those hardcore literary perfectionists who know what good writing is supposed to look like. I hope someone like that will read it. Because it's ready.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
But still, even though that can be very frustrating, not reading your own book after publication is like not wanting to listen to your own song after it's been recorded. Or not wanting to look at your own painting after you painted it, or not wanting to look at your own sculpture after you sculpted it.
When I write a song, I most definitely want to hear it after it's been recorded, and when I paint a painting or sculpt a sculpture, I most definitely want to look at it after it's finished. So when I write a book, I most definitely want to read it after it's been published. And when I find something in there that I think could have been written better, then so be it. (Notice I used the word "when" and not "if.")
You see, a novel, like a song, or a painting, drawing, or sculpture, is a work of art. It's a creation of majestic words strung together, like a poem, but it's an even greater work of art. It's a poem times a thousand. It's to be enjoyed. And a truly great work of art can be enjoyed over and over.
For me, that's exactly what my novels do. Provide enjoyment over and over. I can read Killer of Killers or The Vase over and over again, time and again, (and I have) and every time, I enjoy them as much or even more than the previous times I read them. That's what art is supposed to do. My books have achieved that. And it's only because of the work I put in. All artists are like that. If they truly are artists that is. And I believe they are.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
When I checked my other book, The Vase, published by Penumbra, it's the way they had it, so yeah, Nancy's right about that, and I'm glad I asked for clarification. So I'm glad that the title page is still going to be there.
All is all, it's an opportunity to point out a couple good things about Melange. They strive to get things right, and they have respect for their authors, in this case, running it by me first when they wanted to change a format, even when it was a relatively minor thing, like in this instance. So kudos to Melange for that.
Monday, November 18, 2013
Okay, having said all that, and all of it valid, it's done, now. I sent it last night, and Nancy, the publisher at Melange has already answered that she has it, and it will be released soon after December 1st, which is only a couple weeks away.
But she also inferred that she wants to eliminate the "header page" if I understood her correctly. She said that those pages should not be there. I asked for clarification to be sure it's what she meant. And if it is what she meant, then I don't know why she said that. Penumbra Publishing has that header page in there, too. I know that because The Vase just got published by them, and their format is almost the same as Melange's, with a header page containing the title and author name.
Meaning it has a "header page" dedicated to saying only: The Vase by Mark M. DeRobertis -- although it's not the very first page like with Melange books. It's the fifth page, after the blurb page, copyright page, acknowledgments page, and a blank page. Melange has the header page first and then the copyright page, blurb page and acknowledgments page.
So when Nancy answers with clarification, maybe I'll just request it to be in the order of like how Penumbra does it. We'll see how that goes. I'll be posting again tomorrow. Things are back to normal now, so I should be back to daily posts again from now on.
Friday, October 18, 2013
One might have thought that The Prologue would have been finalized long ago. But after scrutinizing every sentence, every word, including the meanings, the connotations, the clarity, and possible inferences, I decided to rewrite a couple sentences here and there, yes, in the Prologue.
So, I will wait until the weekend. And then probably until next week. But I will let you know when it does happen. That is something of which you can be sure.
Monday, October 14, 2013
So I'm finishing up the last couple chapters today, and I do believe I will send to Melange by tomorrow. I will keep you posted. And if it does indeed happen, then I should be back to my daily posts, too. Stay tuned.
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
We'll start with the main character, Trent Smith. He's in his late thirties, averaged sized, but muscular, not like a body builder, steroid enhanced guy, but a solid build, and considered handsome by the women who come to know him. And the actor out there now, who I would cast is Dustin Clare, the actor known from the Spartacus mini series on the Starz channel. This guy played a champion gladiator on that show, so a martial arts champion isn't a far cry from that.
|Dustin Clare - perfect for the role of Trent Smith|
There are two antagonists, each of whom vies to employ Trent Smith. The aged billionaire, Abraham Soriah is the top guy, who runs a secret society of immortal supermen. He would give anything to have Trent work as his top assassin, but Trent will have nothing of that. But there is one guy who is perfect for the role of Abraham Soriah. Max Von Sydow. He's the right age, the right height, (Soriah is a tall guy,) and has the air of an authoritative figure.
|Max Von Sydow - perfect as Soriah|
And then the other antagonist, Karl Manoukian, a foreign businessman, who once was allied with Soriah but now opposes him. Eugene Levy, best known from the American Pie comedy movies is just about the right age, and has the right look to be right for that role.
|Eugene Levy - perfect as Manoukian|
And Abraham Soriah's right hand man, Charles Morgan. He is no servant, nor is he a bodyguard to the aged billionaire. He is Soriah's most trusted administrator, and is always by Abraham's side. Dennis Haysbert was the man I had in mind when I created the character, and he would be the perfect actor for the part.
|Dennis Haysbert - perfect as Charles Morgan|
And of course, there had better be beautiful women. I created the role of Samantha Jones, the beautiful blond police detective, before I was aware that there was already a Samantha Jones in a women's romantic comedy TV show. But since I didn't find out about the TV show Samantha Jones until AFTER Killer of Killers was published, I guess that name will have to stick. That's okay. But the actress to play MY Samantha Jones is probably the most beautiful blond woman in the movies today. And no, I'm not talking about Scarlett Johannsen, nor am I talking about Jessica Alba. I am talking about Amber Heard. She is perfect for the role.
|Amber Heard - Perfect for Samantha Jones|
And probably the most difficult role to fill is the beautiful black exotic dancer, Susie Quinn, who Trent meets during one of his killing missions. She actually saves Trent's life, and the two have a very serious relationship going on until fate intervenes. But no black actresses out there are right for the part. I was very worried until I happened to see Estelle Daniels in a bit part on another Starz mini series, DaVinci's Demons. I'm not really sold that she is 'perfect' for the part, but she's way better for that part than all these other black actresses who seem to be dominating Hollywood right now, like Kerry Washington, Jada Smith, Vivica Fox, et al.
|Estelle Daniels - good enough for Susie Quinn|
And then there's Samantha Jones' brother, Josh Jones, the ex football star, who is very protective of his sister, and is not really a bad guy, but he doesn't really get along with Trent Smith. A good actor for that role would be Dolph Lundgren, who may not be perfect for the role, because I think he might be getting too old for the part. Still, he'd be good enough the next couple years.
|Dolph Lundgren good enough for Josh Jones|
So, yeah, there's other parts, like Dr. Jason Benson, Dr. Samuel Bernstein, his wife, Martha, and several other characters who have significant parts in the story. Let me know which actors you think would be right for the roles. I'll listen, and maybe I'll agree!
Friday, September 20, 2013
No. It's about a family. A Palestinian family, which is caught up in the conflict. They are centered in it, and that's why they are swept up in it. It's also about a Jewish Art History professor. He is caught up in the conflict, too. Even swept up in it, like the Palestinian family. Both, the Palestinian family and the Jewish art professor had actually tried to stay out of the conflict. But things don't always go the way you want them to go, and everyone out there knows the truth of that. Either you go with the flow, or you get bowled over by it. And these things happen to all of the characters in The Vase. But, oh yeah, there is the situation that occurs as a result of a particular vase. Thus the name of the book. But I talked about that yesterday. Buy your copy today. You'll be glad you did.
Thursday, September 19, 2013
And when I started writing The Vase, I was calling it Lord, I am Not Worthy. But by the time I finished writing it, I had changed the title to The Vase. And I am very glad that I did, because as a book title, Lord, I am Not Worthy sounds just as dumb as The V-Shaped man.
So how do you choose a title for your book, anyway? Well, when I was writing KOK, I had initially described the main character, Trent Smith, as a man with the typical male V-shaped physique. You know, with the narrow hips and broad shoulders--The V shape. But after I wrote the book, it became clear that there was an obvious title for that book--Killer of Killers. And those three words had been mentioned repeatedly in the book. It is exactly what Trent Smith became, and by the end of the book, he was nothing more than just that. Thus the name of the book was clear.
And when it comes to The Vase, I don't even think I was done writing it yet when I realized that Lord, I Am Not Worthy was not the right title for that book. It became very clear about midway through the book, that the name of the book should be The Vase. Because the entire story line revolved around a vase. A very special vase. Everything was based on that vase. So much so that without that particular vase, there would have been no story at all. Zip. Zero. Nothing. It was all about the vase. Thus, the title of the book.
Admittedly, a casual observer, someone browsing in a bookstore, whether a brick and mortar one or an online one, may not realize all that is involved with a book called The Vase. They might even think it's a book about how to make a vase. But that's where the promo comes in. After checking the blurb, it becomes clear that The Vase is not a how to book. It's a novel, after all, and it's a story that takes place in Israel, (with a couple scenes in Hollywood, too, by the way,) and it does have a great deal to do with the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians. In fact the main characters are a Palestinian potter and his 14 year old son, a Jewish Art History Professor, and an IDF captain who also happens to be the head of Kidon, (the assassination branch of Mossad.)
And when you put all of that in the Old City Market of downtown Nazareth, with a very special vase at the center of it, you have a great story. There was no other name for that book. The story, the events in the story, the climax, and conclusion demanded it to be named The Vase.
And if my explanation is not clear, then I am confident that if anyone reads the book, they will understand and agree that the name of the book could only be that--The Vase.
Friday, September 13, 2013
I feel a little smug about that. After all, I've already written four books, and two of them are published, and the other two will be published as soon as I get to revising them a little more. So I kind of feel that I know how to write. Especially after that gruelling experience with Penumbra Publishing. Boy, did they ever teach me how to write! After learning from them, I really believe I'm an expert at it now. And I can teach it with the best of them!
But no matter, I'm here, the other teachers are here, too, waiting for this thing to begin, and while I'm waiting, I'm writing. Maybe I can get back to finishing those revisions on the second edition of Killer of Killers. It's so close to being finished. It should be done by this weekend, and I'll be sending by next week. I know I've said that before, but this time, it really should be true. And how.
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
It's interesting to me, this third person limited POV. Both Killer of Killers and The Vase are strictly adhering to that guideline, and it makes the story and the writing of it so much better, now that I have come to fully understand it. I never write in first person POV, and any time I find a book in first person POV, I drop it like a hot potato. Third person limited is the way to go. And now that the release of Killer of Killers, the second edition is imminent, both books will be perfect in that regard. That's all for now.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Again, I attribute that to the strict and unbending standards of 3rd person limited at Penumbra, as well as the strict and unbending guidelines of verb usage, commas, tag lines, and just about everything else in the literary process. Melange was more loose with all of that, but since my second novel, The Vase, was held to that standard, I am compelled to make sure Killer of Killers meets those standards, too.
I'm just glad the publisher at Melange is willing to go along with that. But why shouldn't she? It will only make this particular Melange book a better book. And wow, is it better. Why else would I suggest that buyers hold off until the second edition is published? Because my name is on it, that's why. It's a book I wrote, and any author would want their best effort put forth. Any author who's a true artist, anyway. And an artist, I am.
And of all the arts that I have spent time with, it's writing and writing novels in particular which I find the most rewarding. Particularly when they're published and real people out there in the real world are reading them. That really makes it worthwhile. And exciting. Yep, this is a good year for me.
Monday, September 2, 2013
I found the image that is on the header of my blog on the internet somewhere, and I like it, but it really is a smooth vase, isn't it? So when Penumbra showed me that other image, I chose that one to be the one for the cover on the book. And there's a similar looking one on the inside, too. Penumbra is more into using graphics on the inside of the book, like the big publishers do, and I like that. Every chapter has the image on the first page of the chapter, and it's a great addition.
Can't wait for people to start reading it. All people should like it. Christians, Muslims, Jews, and anyone else for that matter. But even though I include Christians as readers who will enjoy it, the funny thing is, there are no Christian characters in the story. Well, the Pope does make an appearance, but it's a very brief appearance. Still, it is in the climax of the story, so it's a very important appearance. And interestingly enough, even Jesus Christ makes an appearance. But is it the real Jesus Christ? Well, you'll have to read it to find out. And even then, the reader will have to make that determination for him/herself.
That's the great thing about The Vase. It ends up being the reader who makes the determination. And that's the way it should be. I can't wait to hear what readers decide.
Friday, August 30, 2013
But that's another thing, entirely. For me, as the author, I would prefer the Second Edition to be the version readers read. Why? Because I'm applying all that I learned from Penumbra Publishing into that version. Third person limited POV will be perfect in Killer of Killers. Melange was good about it, make no mistake, but they just weren't severely strict about it. They follow Nora Roberts, I've been told, and I understand Nora Roberts herself is very loose about third person limited. So Melange, also, is somewhat loose about it.
Not so at Penumbra. They are as strict as can be. So much so, that not even the slightest stray from third person limited will be tolerated. At first, it seemed to me to be a little too strict. And I was glad that Melange wasn't that way. But after finishing The Vase, I realized that it really did make a difference. The literary prose was improved too. And by a lot. So much so that I just felt compelled to do the same for Killer of Killers. And wow. Killer of Killers has been improved so much now, that I can't wait to submit it for the release of the Second Edition.
I'm in the final stages of it now. It should be ready by next week. Stay tuned.
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
But that didn't stop me from buying and enjoying the album. I've bought all the other Black Sabbath albums that didn't feature the original lineup. But my favorite musician, guitarist Tony Iommi was on all of them, and that's what mattered to me. Those albums really should have been called Tony Iommi solo albums, but whatever. There were a lot of them, and they had a bunch of different singers. Sure all of them were good singers, but one thing remains true in my opinion. Ozzy Osbourne is the voice of Black Sabbath.
And likewise, Bill Ward is the percussion of Black Sabbath. And when I learned that he wasn't going to be there, I was not happy about it. I met Bill Ward, you see. I was part of a back stage tour in L.A. during one of the Ozzfests when Black Sabbath performed, and managed to linger on the stage when the tour moved on. And shortly thereafter, Bill Ward came out to tune up his drums. My friend and I were astounded. We're thinking, "That's Bill Ward!"
When he finished tuning his drums, Bill was departing, so I blurted, "Hi Bill!" just for the hell of it. He turned around and returned the greeting, but that wasn't all. He came over and talked to us. Yeah, that was a thrill. Perhaps the biggest thrill of my life after the birth of my sons. And it just goes to show, that some celebrities can be really cool, and humble, too. When I told him I had been a fan of his for over thirty years, his response was that he was honored. HE was honored. How about that?
So, it did bother me that not only was he not recording the new album, he was also not a part of the tour. But, just as I still bought the album, I still went to the concert, and I am very glad I did. They sounded great. They played a great variety of their music, even some songs that I had never heard them play live before, including Wall of Sleep, which is a song from their first album, (and one of my personal favorites,) along with Paranoid's Rat Salad, and Volume 4's Under the Sun.
Bottom line, the band was in top form. But they always are. They always have been, and I believe they always will be. Doesn't matter how old they get or how ill they get. (That's a reference to Tony's cancer, which I've heard is in remission and didn't seem to slow him one bit.)
You know, I almost decided not to go to this concert. But if I made that decision, it would have been a mistake. I was glad I was there. Even without Bill Ward, it was still Black Sabbath.
Monday, August 26, 2013
Sunday, August 25, 2013
Saturday, August 24, 2013
|Cover to The Vase|
Watch for The Vase from Penumbra, coming soon.
Friday, August 23, 2013
I am so thrilled with the completion, finally, of the manuscript of The Vase. It was a long time coming, and it is flawless, thanks to the hard work of the editor, Grayson at Penumbra, and of course, my own hard work, too.
Now back to work on still some more hard work, and I'm referring to the second edition of Killer of Killers. I told Melange I'd have it back to them by last week, but there really is no rush. I'm not being held to any deadlines, so I will send it to them when I am damn sure it is just as perfect as The Vase.
And here's why. I really expect The Vase to attract a large audience. And that audience may well want to read something else I wrote, which will be, of course, Killer of Killers. But The Vase really is a different type of book than the martial arts action thriller that is Killer of Killers. It could be considered a religious type of story and yet, it's not really a religious book at all. It might be viewed as a political one, but then again, not really. It could be considered fantasy, paranormal, or even historical, but then again, not really.
I don't really know how to categorize it, but I had always promoted it as a suspense novel, yet Penumbra didn't categorize it that way on their website. They are putting it up as paranormal, historical and fantasy.
But whatever, I suppose it does stretch over many different genres, and all of the above could qualify. Meanwhile, my son's senior high school football season is approaching, the kids in my classes at my school are awesome this year, and I am optimistic about The Vase and Killer of Killers being fantastic novels. That's an awful lot to look forward to for me this year.
So you'll be hearing more from me, that's for sure.
Friday, August 9, 2013
One thing that popped out at me was an error regarding the verb has/have that I just caught. In both of my manuscripts. In The Vase I found a piece of dialogue where someone was saying, "War and fighting has occurred here for so long..." but the verb 'has occurred' should be 'have occurred' because whenever you have multiple subjects connected with 'and' then you use the plural form of the verb, even though the individual subjects were singular.
In KOK another instance like that occurred, but I can't remember exactly what the passage was. Nevertheless, it's fixed, too. A couple other things Grayson at Penumbra told me was not to use 'swirled" around when someone spins around to see what's behind them, use the word 'whirled' around instead. Of course, 'spun' around works, too. Or 'wheeled' even. Sometimes, I'll just put 'pivoted' and never put 'swiveled' for when someone turns their head. Or 'rotated'. Just say they turned their head.
One of my flaws in writing that I have overcome is that I used to try to be fancy. I was influenced by other people's writing blogs and saw how they tried to be good writers by using fancy words and phrases to describe actions and dialogue, but I've grown beyond that now. I've learned that that doesn't make someone a good writer, it only exposes their amateurism and their inexperience. Say what you've got to say, but don't mix it up with irregular words and words that can mean something else, because the reader might just take it to mean something else and not what you meant.
So like anything, it's about experience and learning and growing. And with that you become a better writer. And don't be stubborn. When someone's telling you what you're doing is wrong, don't argue with them and think that you're the one right. Take your time and think it through. I did. And I'm a better writer for it. Good luck to everyone.
Thursday, August 8, 2013
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Still, I haven't seen a cover yet. I think that is the next step in the process. At Melange, for Killer of Killers, they had the cover ready before the edits even. But it doesn't matter. Both are extremely important. The cover will help sell the book, but the edits are what makes the book good when it's being read. Of course, the story had better already be good. But with The Vase, I already know that's the case. I wrote it after all. And this blog is pretty much dedicated to The Vase. Just look at the header. It's all about The Vase. So stay tuned.
Monday, August 5, 2013
And just in time, too. School is getting ready to resume, and it's back to the grindstone. That's OK, because by then I'll be back to work on Killer Eyes. It's going to be published by Melange. It will be my third book published, and then I'll get back to work on John Dunn. Can't complain. When you have a publisher, it makes it so much more rewarding, then writing with the hopes of getting published. And I'm lucky enough to have two. But that's what you work so hard for. And that's why you have to be relentless. Otherwise, don't write. That's all.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Of course, if anything is still in need of correcting, then it will be corrected. But I did skim through it, and just about all my changes were incorporated, and a couple additional things brought to my attention. I need to point out that it is so necessary to have an editor. Sometimes you just seem to be blind to something, and that's the kind of thing for which an editor is needed.
Not that there were that many things, but even in this fourth round, my editor is catching things. Things that even he missed the first three times. As for me, I've read it over and over, and probably would never have caught these things. But it's clear to me, any author or writer who thinks they don't need an editor, they are truly mistaken. And the better the editor, the better the editing, that goes without saying.
And at Penumbra, I've got what could be the best in the business, which is why I'm incorporating all that I learned from him into my other book, Killer of Killers, which I'm not quite finished with yet. But I will be soon, Both of my books, will be finished very soon. Yeah, things are looking great for The Vase and Killer of Killers, and by extension, all of my future books, too.
Friday, July 26, 2013
Meanwhile, if you are a collector and having a first edition is important to you, better get on the ball, and get your copy of Killer of Killers by this weekend. That's because early next week, maybe as soon as Monday or Tuesday, I'll be sending in the second edition. And after that, no more first editions will be available. But if you don't care about that kind of thing, and you are waiting for the better version, then your wait is almost over. I'll keep you posted.