Will iconic images recorded in the grooves of an ancient vase unite the Holy Land or rip it further apart?

THE VASE

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

Books for Readers Who Want Action, Thrills, and Suspense!

If you want to read a book with action, thrills, and suspense, look no further. Just click on one of the images to the right of this post, and you will find two books filled with action thrills, and suspense just waiting for you to read. But you'll have to actually click on the images, follow the directions, and then, in a week or so, one or the other or both will be delivered to your doorstep. Or at least your mailbox. That is a guarantee.

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

47 Ronin--Just Okay

I saw the movie 47 Ronin last night with my family, and I just wasn't that impressed with it as far as what I expected. What did I expect? I expected an exciting, action-packed thrilling ride with a mixture of fantasy, romance, and adventure, and all based on the true story of the 47 Ronin set during the times of Feudal Japan.

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
But that infers that the lack of excitement was Keanu's fault. And that really is not entirely true. I think the lack of excitement had a lot to do with the directing. It could have been much better. A great director would have made all the difference, if you want to talk bottom line. Because a great director can get great acting out of his actors. So what about the acting? Well, the Japanese actors speaking English left a lot to be desired. That's my take on the overall performances of the actors. Not that Japanese actors speaking English can't get it done. They can, and I've seen it, but this time? No.


Keanu in The Matrix. Just right, minus the shades
The story line? Or screenplay? Could have been better. There were some good scenes, and the story over all, I understand, had to follow, more or less, the true story, but I came out of that theater feeling unsatisfied, and for all of the above reasons. If only one of them had been addressed, perhaps I would have felt differently. I know I would have.

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

Great Week to Buy Books!

And starting with both Killer of Killers and The Vase, if you ever wanted to buy a book, now's the time. Why? Why not? I've been promoting both books for the last week or two, now, and today's the day I visit a couple bookstores. Whomever the manager is, they'll get a free print copy in the hopes that they'll buy more for the bookshelves. Fingers crossed!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Over-Still Buy a Book!

So Christmas is over, but still, who said you can't buy a book? Killer of Killers and The Vase are ready and waiting to be purchased. Just click on the images to the right of this post, and follow the directions to buy either a print copy or an eBook copy, even Amazon Kindle. That is if you enjoy action thrillers, (KOK) or suspense novels, (The Vase) which takes place in Israel and even features an America Ghost Hunter from a Hollywood reality TV show!

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

Last Day to get your Free Copy!

I hope you didn't lag. Because time is up. You had all day today to order your free copy of The Vase. I hope you did. Because Penumbra says the free copies won't be available after today. But what the heck, the eBook only costs like $2.99, so that won't break anyone's bank. It would have made a great holiday present. I Hope someone will be reading The Vase over the remainder of the holidays.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Free Promo Copies of THE VASE

Available until tomorrow only, (December 24th),THE VASE will be available for free! Use the following coupon code at the Penumbra Publishing website. And then after you read it, feel free to drop me a line. Let me know what you thought of THE VASE!

Promotional price: $0.00
Coupon Code: EY69H
Expires: December 24, 2013

Sequels and New Projects

Okay. Killer of Killers is done. Even the second edition of it. The Vase is done. KOK's sequel is being revised. And then a new project, John Dunn needs to be revised. And then the third in the KOK series will be written. And then? Well, there will be no sequels to The Vase, or to John Dunn. So does that mean another sequel to KOK, or perhaps another new project. I do have an idea for a YA/MG book that I might have mentioned once before. But that's down the road. After John Dunn and the sequels to KOK are out of the way. Because time is best used to finish projects that are already started, not starting new projects before the ones in progress are still unfinished.

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

Christmas Present-Killer of Killers or The Vase?

So, it's the season of giving, and as I was saying, I'll be giving free copies of Killer of Killers and The Vase to bookstores in the hopes that they will stock their shelves with them. But what about the people reading this blog? Well, it might be a good idea to make some kind of contest or something, and then give a free copy to the winner, like some author's blogs do.

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

Will Giving Prompt Purchases?

I really don't know any other authors, not personally anyway, so I can't delve into their personal success stories when it comes to prompting purchases. My plan to give away free copies of Killer of Killers to bookstore owners or managers seems to be a good idea, but what if they just sit on the book, and then never buy copies to sell in their bookstores?

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

Bay Area Bookstores Only - For Now, Anyway

When it comes to finding Killer of Killers in a bookstore, you'd better live in the San Francisco Bay Area. That happens to be the area where I live. And since I'm going to have to physically visit the bookstores where I place my book, Killer of Killers, then, logically, they will have to be bookstores where I can physically visit, right? So outside of the San Francisco Bay Area, I don't suppose you'll be able to find Killer of Killers in a bookstore.

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

Bookstores, Libraries, and Drugstores?

As I've blogged, I will be in promotion mode for the next couple weeks, and it's a good thing that I have a two week vacation coming up. School is out for the holidays starting next week, and that means I will take copies of Killer of Killers and The Vase to bookstores, libraries, and drugstores.

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

Promotion, Promotion, Promotion

I put out my call to buyers yesterday, because I am fully charged with seeing how the second edition of Killer of Killers fares. Over the first year, sales for the first edition were modest, and I'm okay with that. And that's because I was not satisfied with the final version of that first edition. It's why I was asking Melange to reload it again and again after fixing this and fixing that. And as I've already pointed out, after my second novel was published, I realized just why I wasn't satisfied with the first edition of Killer of Killers. It wasn't consistent with the 3rd person limited POV.

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

Now is TIme to BUY Killer of Killers! The Vase, too, btw

Over the past few months, instead of promoting sales for Killer of Killers, I had actually discouraged potential buyers, saying to wait until after the release of the second edition before anyone should go ahead and purchase their copy of the book. Well, sales indicate that people must have been listening to me, and I'm glad for that, as only a couple copies were sold over the past quarter. Even though the story remains the same, the writing is up there now, meaning it will pass the closest scrutiny for literary standards of POV, prose, punctuation, and verb use.

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

Now What? Keep Writing--But...

Yes, when you've finished a book, like I've finally finished Killer of Killers and The Vase, you keep on writing. You go on to your next project. And for me, that would be the sequel to Killer of Killers, which I've been calling Killer Eyes. But I might change that to The Killers Guild, since I introduce a Killers Guild in that book. I was going to reserve the title The Killers Guild for the third installment of this limited series, but I'm not so sure about that any more.

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

Second Edition Killer of Killers Released Today!

Today it's official. Killer of Killers, the Second Edition is now available for purchase, both in print and eBook. Even Amazon Kindle. I'm so excited for this. Even though my second novel, The Vase is still a new book, having been published just this past August, I never made any secret that Killer of Killers is my favorite novel. Not just my favorite of the four novels I've written. I like it way better than anything out there today. But then again, I like The Vase better than today's popular novels, too.

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

Excerpt from Killer of Killers

In a continuation of excerpts from my debut novel, Killer of Killers, the Second Edition, I decided to post the very beginning of the book, the first part of the Prologue. I am aware that some people don't even read the prologues to books. That is strange to me. They have their reasons, one of which, I've read is that they don't want to start a book twice, and to me, that's ridiculous. The prologue IS the start of the book, and Chapter One is the continuation of that. Meaning Chapter One is not the real start of a book. Obviously the prologue is, like in a movie where it starts with what could be a prologue if it were a book, and then the story continues after that, not starts after that.

So anyway, here's how Killer of Killers starts:


Prologue 

JFK Airport 

It was a long time coming, but he made the decision, and Dr. Samuel 
Bernstein rushed through the terminal a different man. He wanted no more the 
role of absentee father and no more the bane of negligent husband. No more 
research facility half a continent away. Never again would he sweat ice in 
humid vaults of bubbling vats and sterile test tubes. And no more nightmares— 
the waking screams in halls of horror, the dire consequence of scientific 
arrogance, soul-chilling visions of a holocaust revisited. 

Never again. For Samuel, the sprawling biological laboratory in the 
Minnesota wilderness would forever be a memory. A bad one. He carried a 
black leather bag in one hand and pressed a cell phone against his ear with the 
other. Finally, an answer. “Samuel?” It was Martha, his wife. 

End of excerpt. And yeah, the story continues with Dr. Bernstein driving home with his wife, but what they find at home is not what they counted on, and enough about that. (Although the excerpt in the Melange Website does go a little further.) Still, it's a good start, and it's in Chapter One where the reader is introduced to the main character. Trent Smith. The world's greatest martial artist. Which, to me, is a character worth reading about. I think you'll agree, once you've read the book, that is.

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

Killer of Killers and The Vase - Time for Reviews

Now that my first two novels are good to go, at the level I want them to be, and perfectly written to every detail, it's time I got some reviews. Too bad that one review disappeared. Boy was it a beauty. It was a year and some months ago, a fellow Melange author wrote the most wonderful review for Killer of Killers. I mean it was a review to die for! What happened? Well, I didn't know that the reviewer was a fellow Melange author. Had I known that, I would have been very happy to read and review his book. But, I didn't know. I should have checked. I should have found out who he was. But since I didn't, I can only guess that he was not happy with me for not even thanking him for the wonderful review he gave Killer of Killers. Oh well. Lesson learned. And the next time I do get a good review, I'll be sure not to repeat that mistake. I will thank whomever it is that gives me a good review.

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

Can't Believe it's my Birthday!

Yes, today is actually my birthday, and I don't believe I've ever made that distinction here on the blog. Not that I'll be deluged with any Birthday wishes, but I thought I'd mention it this time, since I've been blogging for about three years now, going on four years actually. In May it will be four years exactly since my first blog post.

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

Friday Update--Print copies are Ready!

A quick update to let you know that as of now, Killer of Killers, the Second Edition is now ready and available in PRINT. I just checked the Lulu printing site, and it HAS BEEN RELOADED, which means the printed books are now ready to be purchased. Just click on the Killer of Killer cover image to the right. Hold off on the digital copies though. Those will be ready some time next week.

Corrections Made!

That was fast. By last night, Nancy at Melange had made the corrections on the two errors I mentioned yesterday and sent me both corrected files, one for eBooks and one for print books of Killer of Killers. The release date for the second edition of Killer of Killers is next week, and I am thrilled. I think I'm even going to get another free author's copy, too. That is exciting to me, because I like to read a couple chapters every night at bedtime. I do that for The Vase, too. I've already posted about how I like to read my own books, unlike one author a while back, who said he doesn't want to do that. But whatever.  For me, it's one of the great things in life. That is to be able to enjoy the fruits of your creative efforts. Art is art, and it's to be enjoyed, especially if it's your own art. That's the way I see it. So I'll post when the release of Killer of Killers, the second edition is available. I know I said the print was available a couple days ago, but that's the one with the missing word "ill" from the idiom "ill at ease." But like I said, the flawless version will be ready by next week. Hooray!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Hold The Press! One Missing Comma and One Typo!

And that was how I titled the subject I used on my Email to Melange last night. I guess it was inevitable. The typo, I mean. It seems like you can never be rid of them. But the word "ill" was missing from the term "ill at ease" which, of course gives it the opposite meaning, and it just had to be fixed. And there was a missing comma, too. Commas are often optional, and having one or not having one might not be a big deal, and this one might have just stayed gone, but because of the typo, I figured I may as well insert the missing comma, too.

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

Considered Graphics for Second Edition

When I was completing the second edition of Killer of Killers for the release coming soon, I considered using some graphics for each chapter title page. I got the idea from Penumbra Publishing, which uses some kind of related graphic above the chapter titles of each chapter. For instance, in my book, The Vase, above each chapter title, they used a black and white picture of a vase, which I thought added some class to the book.

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:


 ...but the black background looked too bold, and too square, and it just stood out way too much, so I doctored it up some on my computer and turned it into this:
As you can see, I eliminated that square black background by changing it to white, which just blends in with the white pages and gives the impression that the image is independent of any background at all. It's way less imposing, I think.
 
But ultimately I changed my mind. I considered that it might only result in formatting problems, which would turn into an unnecessary headache for Nancy, my Melange publisher to deal with, so it didn't make the final cut. Not to worry, though. I did change the font on the Title Page for the title, and for the title on the blurb, and for every chapter title in the book. And that did add a lot to the overall look of the book.
 
But it's really all about the writing. Graphics won't turn bad writing good, and I am very satisfied with the writing at this point. More than satisfied, really, I'm ecstatic. And with nearly the entire book rewritten to be consistent with 3rd person limited POV, and other prose improvements, it needs no further enhancements.

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

Monsters in Killer of Killers?

It occurred to me after yesterday's post that someone who never read Killer of Killers might think there are monsters or demons in the story. Rest assured, there are no monsters or demons in the story. Not physical ones anyway. That excerpt was from a dream Trent Smith was having, and it was quite a dream, as the part that I posted is only a very small part of that dream. So no, KOK is not a fantasy, nor is it SciFi. It's a modern day thriller, a martial arts action thriller to be exact, and it retains a firm grip on the reality of the modern era. Meaning it's a realistic and contemporary story with topical themes and intrinsic philosophies.

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

Excerpt from Killer of Killers

Well, I think I'll start posting some excerpts from Killer of Killers to start showing off some of this beautiful prose I've perfected over the months. People who are familiar with the writings of Robert E. Howard might discern an influence from him in this excerpt. Not overt, really, but it's there.

So here's the excerpt:
Puzzled, Trent moved away from them and in the direction of the emanate evil, but when he reached the leafy corner, he froze. He didn’t know if he should advance, or if he should retreat. He decided to advance. After a single step, a monstrous humanoid shape, rotted and moldy, suddenly pounced with the ferocity of an African lion. It attacked violently, clawing wildly with talons ripping flesh from bone. Trent could only throw his arms up to protect himself, but it was useless. The creature’s size was overpowering, and its stench overwhelming. Trent felt himself succumbing to the slashing savagery.
In moments, it would be over, but Trent was a fighter, and he refused to submit. He reached deep into his heart, into his soul, and retaliated with every fiber of his being, pummeling the monster with his fists, again, and again, and again. By sheer force of will, Trent gained the upper hand and didn’t stop bashing and smashing until all that was left of the ghastly ghoul was little more than a gooey gob on the grassy ground.

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

Writing Novels is an Art

I'm a perfectionist. That may be annoying to people around me, but if you don't know me, then you won't be annoyed. Instead, you would appreciate the perfectionist that wants his books written perfectly, or as near perfectly as humanly possible. Or anything that has to do with an artistic creation, be it a novel, a painting, a song, or a sculpture. The people who enjoy these things will be very glad that I'm a perfectionist.

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

Thanksgiving is a day I'm thankful for being Published!

It was a long and hard road for me. Writing books, finding agents, and getting published, that is. Only thing is, it wasn't an agent who got it done for me. It was me. All me.

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

Snags Straightened Out, KOK Set To Go!

Well, I got the eBook version, of Kller of Killers, the second edition, and I received the print version, too, and the missing date is back in there for both of them, and the blank page is in there for the print version, too.

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

Reload in Progress for Killer of Killers

Well, as I've posted, I did finally send the rewritten version of Killer of Killers, now referred to as the Second Edition, and Melange is in the process of reloading it, but there seems to be inevitable snags along the way. First, as you may already know, some books need a blank page in the beginning so the first page of story begins on the right side of the print book. Well, the file that I sent, already had a blank page in there, and it was never a problem before when it was reloaded, but this time it resulted in TWO blank pages, and I caught that right off the top, when they sent me the PDF to check over.

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

Killer of Killers Reload imminent

Nancy, the publisher at Melange, contacted me and is working on the reload. That means, she's reformatting the headers like I talked about earlier, and will be making the second edition available through their website in the digital formats, and then in the print format. And then on to Amazon, etc.

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

Thanksgiving, time for family?

Nope, for me, Thanksgiving is time to write. I've only scratched the surface in the revision stage for Killer Eyes, and I hope to be deep into it over the week off for Thanksgiving. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, being a teacher, I have the whole week off. So since I don't have to be doing the 'family' thing until Thursday, that means Monday through Wednesday, I get to write. Or in this case, revise, edit and make Killer Eyes as good as Killer of Killers. That's the plan. Can't wait.

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

Do Authors Read Their Own Books?

I remember one author saying in his blog that he doesn't read his own books after they've been published. He explained that one of the reasons was because if he did, he would find things in there that he would have done differently, and he didn't want to go through that. And I know exactly what he was talking about, because I have found that every time I read one of my own books after I had supposedly finished it, I find things that I would have done differently. Meaning I might have used a different verb, or a different arrangement of words, etc.

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

Now On to Killer Eyes

Yes, it's time to finally concentrate on Killer Eyes the sequel to Killer of Killers, and it's fitting, after spending so much time perfecting Killer of Killers. I know exactly how to proceed with 3rd person limited POV now, and that's exactly what I'll have in mind as I revise Killer Eyes. Of course, I'll perfect the prose, as I always do when I reread any of my writing. Not just novels. I find myself revising and perfecting even the most trivial things, like emails and what not. It's the perfectionist in me. Strive to be the best you can be. It's what I believed way before that Army commercial. And I still do.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Misunderstood yesterday's email

After clarification yesterday, I learned that it was not the Title Page, (which I was erroneously calling the "header page") my publisher was talking about, it's the header on the top of the page she wanted to remove from the beginning pages. When she first mentioned it, I mistakenly thought she was talking about the "Title Page," which in Melange Books is the very first page of the book. But no. It's the headers at the very top, where on one page it says the name of the book, and on the opposite page its the author's name. On the first few pages, that's not supposed to be there, and that's all she was saying.

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

Wake Up Time, Dormancy Over

Sorry about the blog being dormant the last few weeks. It's because I was feeling guilty about always saying that I was going to submit the second edition of Killer of Killers, but then I didn't do it, always finding more and more to revise. On one side of the coin, that's a good thing, that I wasn't rushing it, that I was taking my time to make sure it was just right. But on the other side of the coin, how much can one take when the delays keep happening, the days turn into weeks, and the weeks turn into months?

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

Nope, Not Sent Yet

So it's Friday, and the week went by and I still wasn't satisfied that I would not be wanting to make any more changes to Killer of Killers. Just last night, I was tweaking the Prologue. The Prologue! 

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

Long Awaited Reboot Imminent

The Second Edition of Killer of Killers will be submitted this week. It's been a long time coming, and I am aware of that. I know I've been saying it over and over, but this time it's true. The thing was that I wanted to be darn sure that this was indeed the final version, and no more revisions or changes of any kind would be needed. That was absolutely necessary. And after going over it a dozen times or so since last August, I am confident that I have achieved that goal.

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

Killer of Killers -- The Cast of Characters

With the imminent release of the Second Edition of Killer of Killers, I am going to go into promotional mode for that book. Yeah, I know that The Vase just got released, and I'm promoting that one, too, it's just that Killer of Killers was my first book, and I've given that one so much more thought as to which actors out there today would be right for the roles.

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

Promoting The Vase

Now that The Vase is finished and published, it's time to get the word out. I think it will appeal to all readers, but particularly, I think, it will appeal to the same crowd that was attracted to the Dan Brown novels. His novels had that pseudo spiritual appeal, and I think The Vase does, too. Some people have suggested it is kind of like a religious book, or about religion, but I don't think it is. It has religious people in it, though. There are fanatic Muslims, Jewish zealots, and even the Pope is in there. But it's not about religion. It's more than that. It's about people. And even though it has the Israeli/Palestinian conflict as the backdrop, I wouldn't even say it's about that.

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

Book Titles

As of today, I have two books published. Killer of Killers and The Vase. Interestingly, both of those titles were not the original titles of those books. Each one had a "working" title when I began writing them.  When I started writing Killer of Killers, I was calling it The V-Shaped Man. I later changed the title to Killer of Killers, and right now, The V-Shaped Man sounds like a dumb title. And I sure am glad I changed it to Killer of Killers.

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

Teacher Inservice Today

No school for kids today in my district, but teachers are gathering for an inservice. And guess what they are going to be teaching us today? How to Write! Or rather, how to teach how to write.

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

Time to Wrap up Killer of Killers

Over the summer, I had been working on the second edition of Killer of Killers, between editing rounds of The Vase. And since late August, pretty much all of my time has been put into the second edition of KOK. And I can say, it's almost ready. I might have sent it in a couple weeks ago, but I really don't ever want to have to revise this book again. Melange, especially Nancy at Melange has been very nice about it. It's a pain for her, I'm sure, to have to reload this thing, especially after doing it repeatedly when it first got published. But it's more work for me, really, than anyone else, rewriting this thing. But when it comes to making it a better written book, I'm OK with that.

Well, it's not really rewriting anymore. At least not at this point. It was when I rewrote several scenes to adhere to the 3rd person limited POV, but since the first couple times going over it, it's been more of a polishing up. I've learned a lot more about comma usage, and I have fixed a lot of comma placements, and even some instances of verb usage. All in all, it's made for a vast improvement in writing quality in all aspects of writing. POV, literary composition, and prose being the top factors. It's a much improved book. I know I keep saying it's almost ready, but this time, it really is. I should be sending it in by the end of this week.

But after saying that, I'll probably be sending it in next week. Early next week. Monday or Tuesday.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Vase Doing Well, and Killer of Killers Second Edition Imminent

The Vase, now, has been out for about two weeks. I think it's doing well, but I have no data to confirm that. That will have to come later. I just think that it is such a good story, such a unique and original story, that once people get word of it, it will sell well. Particularly to Christian readers. Not that Jewish and Muslim readers can't enjoy it, because I think they will. The main characters are Muslim and Jewish, after all. So of course they can relate to it, in that sense.

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

Killer of Killers, Second Edition almost there

With The Vase wrapped up, and published now, I've been giving 200% attention to the second edition of Killer of Killers. I just have to. With the standard of writing quality set, for me, at least, in The Vase, I have to make sure that Killer of Killers measures up. And I think it does now.

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

The Vase - different vases

There are different pictures of vases, one on my blog and one on the cover of the book. I chose that particular image for the book, because I think it's a closer representation of the vase that is in the story. Both are basically the same shape, and both, being black and white photos, are equally representative of the color, which I described as being gray. Both are unglazed, which is also a required quality, but the vase on the book cover has grooves in it. And that trait is a fundamental requirement.

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

The Vase and Killer of Killers

The Vase is now a published book and ready to be purchased. Killer of Killers was published a year ago, but I would suggest to wait until the Second Edition is released before purchasing it. That is, unless you're a collector. Collectors want the First Editions. That way, if Killer of Killers ever did get famous, or becomes a top seller, than those few First Edition copies might be worth more than their original purchase price.

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

Black Sabbath Live - A Review

Last night my favorite band, Black Sabbath performed at the Shoreline in Mt. View, and I was there. I go to every concert Black Sabbath is at. And I have since the mid seventies. I don't go to any other concerts. I don't have the desire to. But Black Sabbath is different. They're my favorite band. I waited for a new studio album from them since 1978, and finally, this year my wait ended when they released 13. The album did not disappoint, even though the original drummer, Bill Ward did not participate in its production. And that was a problem for me.

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

The Vase - Click on Image to Buy!

Well, that didn't take long. I have now added the image and link to which the page on my publisher's site can be accessed to buy a copy of The Vase. But reviewers can get a free copy. By emailing me, reviewers can receive a special promotional code for which a copy of The Vase can be acquired for free. This will be available for the next couple of months, so if you wish to review The Vase don't take too long, because my publisher says that promotional code will be discontinued in December.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Vase is Published and Ready for Purchase!

The Vase, as I was just informed by Penumbra, is now available for purchase, and I thought the sooner I made that announcement, the better. I will link the Penumbra purchase site to my blog shortly. Until then, clicking on the following smashwords link will enable you to purchase a digital copy. Enjoy the story! Link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/350833

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Vase - Cover is ready


Cover to The Vase
The cover to The Vase is in. It's in the same style of the header to my blog, but since that image is not exactly what I envisioned the vase in my story to look like, I was impressed that Penumbra found an image of a vase that does, actually, look like the vase in my story. And here it is. I couldn't be more pleased. Not just in the cover, but with how all the edits turned out. Grayson Little of Penumbra was a very strict editor, and I was glad for that. After about five, maybe six rounds of hardcore editing, The Vase is finally ready. And it will be released very soon. I will keep you posted.

Watch for The Vase from Penumbra, coming soon.

Friday, August 23, 2013

School Back in Session, So is The Vase

I've had no time the past two weeks, because I'm back to work as a teacher and school is back in session, and THE VASE is back in session, too. I'm not talking about the blog. I'm talking about my second novel, The Vase, which has been returned with the fifth round of edits. I went over them and sent it back with just a few corrections, and it's good to go. Penumbra said that they're working on a cover next, and as soon as one is completed, you  can bet I'll be posting it on the blog.

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

Hidden Errors and Flaws to Overcome

Finding errors in a manuscript can be compared to finding a needle in a haystack. You might have combed through that manuscript more times than you can count, but still that elusive error, like a needle, remains hidden. Until one day it pops out at you.

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

Now Killer of Killers the Second Edition

Full speed ahead with the final revisions to Killer of Killers, and the second edition will be sent by next week. That means if you're a collector and insist on having a first edition, then don't wait too much longer. I would recommend the first edition for collectors for that reason, but if you're a stickler for literary prose, and strict third person limited standards, then wait for the second edition. That one is super high level literary standards, and sticks to the third person limited POV completely. I used to think the third person omniscient was the way to go because of the old school writers style. But today, you better go with the flow. Omniscient = old school = out. Limited = new school = in. And I want in, so that's what I'm doing. Can't wait to get done. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Vase Edits Done

As hoped, the edits for The Vase are done, and I sent the file back to Penumbra. They confirmed receiving it, and it will undergo the final edits now. I hope that the next file I get will be the real deal, meaning that it will be the version that will be published. The eBook will come out first and then the print book.

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

Back to Editing, Revising

With the return of the edits to The Vase, I'm right back in the thick of editing, revising, editing, revising, and all the while, what was already a darn good manuscript is getting better and better. Which is why I went back to Killer of Killers. It had a lot of prose to improve, specifically the 3rd person limited POV as I've said before. I wasn't quite finished with KOK when The Vase came back, but these past few days, I've been so focused on improving The Vase, I'm just about done with it. I think I'll be done by tomorrow, and then by the end of the week, I'll be done with Killer of Killers.

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

The Vase - Edited Version is Back!

Just got the third round of edits returned to me for review. Wow, this is actually going to be the FOURTH round of edits, although, this really shouldn't be an actual editing round, rather it's a review of the final edits to make sure everything is as it should be.

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

Killer of Killers Amazon Ranking Going Up

Well, I don't know who, but I have some evidence that someone is buying Killer of Killers. That's because when it first got put on Amazon, it's ranking was something like over 2 million or something like that. I happened to check it recently and it was in the 700,000s. So something must have made it go up. Exactly how many purchases would be needed to make that kind of movement, I don't have a clue. Maybe it was just a few people bought the Amazon kindle version. Maybe just one or maybe it was 20. Maybe it was 200. I wonder if Amazon can give out those numbers to authors. I wonder if I can ask them. Hhhmm...I think I'll keep an eye on that.

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.