Will iconic images recorded in the grooves of an ancient vase unite the Holy Land or rip it further apart?
A novel by Mark M. DeRobertis
Muhsin Muhabi is a Palestinian potter, descended from a long line of potters. His business is run from the same shop owned by his ancestors since the day his forebears moved to Nazareth. The region's conflict saw the death of his oldest son, and rogue terrorists are in the process of recruiting his youngest in their plot to assassinate the Pope and Israeli prime minister.
Professor Hiram Weiss is an art historian at Nazareth’s Bethel University. He is also a Shin Bet operative on special assignment. With the help of fellow agent, Captain Benny Mathias, he plans to destroy the gang responsible for the death of his wife and only child. He puts a bomb in the ancient vase he takes on loan from Muhsin’s Pottery Shop.
Mary Levin, the charming assistant to the director of Shin Bet, has lost a husband and most of her extended family to recurring wars and never-ending terrorism. She dedicates her life to the preservation of Israel, but to whom will she dedicate her heart? The brilliant professor from Bethel University? Or the gallant captain who now leads Kidon?
Harvey Holmes, the Sherlock of Haunted Houses, is a Hollywood TV host whose reality show just flopped. When a Lebanese restaurant owner requests his ghost-hunting services, he believes the opportunity will resurrect his career. All he has to do is exorcise the ghosts that are haunting the restaurant. It happens to be located right across the street from Muhsin’s Pottery Shop.
Friday, March 29, 2013
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Spartacus has all of the above, as well, but my complaint about Spartacus is that it's too much. I love over the top stuff, but Spartacus has everything over the top. Violence, sex, drama, up the ying yang. It's waaaayyy over the top. For example, one person on that show can spurt enough blood to fill the veins of a dozen characters. And even though they are making the Romans into the bad guys, that doesn't mean Romans can't fight. It's one gladiator against a dozen Roman soldiers, and all 12 Romans will bite the dust, and the gladiator has no scratch. I won't even talk about the over the top sex That's a discussion that will take several blog posts. Suffice it to say that it's also waaayyy over the top.
So, whatever. But there is one show where I can't really think of anything to complain about. Game of Thrones. That's a really well thought out show. I heard the author of the books already had a serious connection to film and TV. He was already a somebody BEFORE he wrote the books. Is it any wonder, then, that he got his books made into the TV series. Connections or not, it's a great storyline, with great characters, and drama that matches or surpasses any other show. The third season is coming up pretty soon, and I'm primed to watch. I've never been a fantasy buff, but it's a well made show with production values that match anything Hollywood has ever done. It's definitely worth watching.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Monday, March 25, 2013
And now I can add DaVinci's Demons to that list. I've always admired what history has had to say about Leonardo DaVinci, and now Starz is going to air a series about him, featuring his younger "lost" years. Which I think is a great idea. I can't remember if any show or movie has ever featured Leonardo DaVinci. And even better, the guy who cowrote the Batman movies, (the good Batman movies,) is in charge of it.
And that's not only a good thing, it's a great thing. I'm not a Batman fan, really, but I'm no stranger to the Batman mythos, and I believe that if anyone was close to what Batman is supposed to be, then maybe it was Leonardo DaVinci. Minus the cape and cowl, I mean. I'm not saying DaVinci was a crime fighter of any sort, but he was the original Renaissance Man, as Batman's supposed to be, and most definitely he was one of the greatest characters in history. And I've always had a soft spot for real life characters. So I'm planning on watching this show when it begins in April. Can't wait.
Friday, March 22, 2013
But So what? I still like it better than those other books, no matter how great they are. And that would be true no matter who wrote it. Why? Because Killer of Killers is the kind of book I like, and that's what matters to anyone who wants to read a book. It's got to be the kind of book that they like. It has to be a book that appeals to them, and Killer of Killers is exactly the kind of book that appeals to me, and anyone else who likes the kinds of things that I like.
Meanwhile, The Vase will appeal to virtually everyone. The difference is that Killer of Killers is more specific, meaning it's for readers who love action and scenes with a lot of fighting. Essentially, Killer of Killers is a story that men will appreciate. (Although plenty of women have told me they loved it, too.) Martial arts action is constant throughout the story. Yeah, there's romance, but romance that men can appreciate, (no wink, wink intended.) Yesterday, I compared the character, Trent Smith, to James Bond, Conan, and others from well known action movies, and also noted that he wasn't like any of them. And very importantly, (because I'm a teacher,) it isn't for kids. Too much adult content. The violence alone makes it not for kids, but there's some love scenes, too, although not graphic, still, it's not for kids.
But The Vase is not that kind of story. It's heavy in drama, in suspense, but not so much in action. It's a book that everyone can appreciate. Even kids. The overall theme is universal. It's a story of love, hate, revenge, and redemption, to be sure, but there's much more to it than that.
There's a decent amount of humor, too. It's no comedy, but there are lighter moments. And the climax, yes, the climax is what should really attract the large audience. Much like Dan Brown's books, I would think. The world's religions are featured in The Vase. Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. None are favored over the others, and none are put in a negative light. I walked with soft shoes in that regard. I think I succeeded. Pretty soon, when it's available you can judge for yourself. Stay tuned.
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Killer of Killers is the book I wrote when I wanted to write a book that I would want to read. I had no interest in reading any other books. I had already read most or all of Robert E. Howard's books. And I had no interest in reading anyone else's books. I tried to. I went to bookstores and tried to pick up books, but I put them all down before getting to the end of page 1. Most made me disgusted.
So I decided to sit down and write a book that I would want to read. Doesn't mean anyone else wants to read it, but it's the book I would want to. And it's a good thing, too. Because, by now I must have read it a hundred times! And every time, I'm telling you, I love it just as much as the first time. It's the book for me. I love a great character, a cool character, in the mold of a James Bond, a Captain Kirk, a Conan, and more recently, a Frank Martin (The Transporter) or a Jason Bourne.
So I created Trent Smith, and you might say he's a combination of all of the above and none of the above. He's just as original and totally different. He's like them, and not like them. Bond worked for England, Kirk worked for The Federation, Conan worked often as a mercenary, Frank Martin worked for whomever hired him as a transporter, and Jason Bourne worked for the United States. Trent Smith is the ultimate hero. He works for no one, and that's the way he likes it.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
But what about me? I never had as much to say, really, just wanted to promote my books. Now that Killer of Killers is published, and The Vase is in queue to be published, and I'm almost done with Killer Eyes, which will also be published, should I keep writing this blog? As I said yesterday, I'll probably keep it up until this summer. Then I'll probably stop, but if I do stop, the main reason is because this summer is when I want to start writing my fifth novel, the third book in the Trent Smith, (Killer of Killers) series. I really don't want to call it a series, but I guess that's what books are called if they have the same main character. And besides, I'm getting some ideas for future Trent Smith stories. I mean, if your character is the world's greatest martial artist who can take on anyone, then you've got something to work with. And I suppose I'll be doing just that for the foreseeable future.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Monday, March 18, 2013
I have also found that after reading some of these blogs on a daily basis, that I don't really like the people who write blogs, (at least the ones that I've been reading.) It seemed as though, after a good length of time, you get to know a lot about those people. It is very interesting to me, that, again, after reading these blogs daily after some years, you get to know some things about those people that I don't think they wanted you to know. Maybe they do, maybe they don't really care, and maybe it's just the way everyone is, but their foibles eventually get exposed when they write a daily blog.
One of things I have never liked about some people is the way they use profanity. Now I'm no angel. I will use profanity sometimes, too, but not on a daily basis, and never in my blog. If I were to stub my toe, for instance, and it was a very painful stubbing, I will probably use a variety of combinations of profane words. But I don't when I'm talking casually to someone. Maybe I will if it's someone I am close to, or spend a lot of time with, but not someone who is just an acquaintance, or someone at work, and certainly never with someone I don't know.
I had a principal, a few years ago, at a different school than the one I'm at now, who used profanity as part of her daily speech patterns, and I just found her to be a dirty-mouthed woman. It certainly didn't convey any professionalism on her part. Maybe she was trying to be one of the "good ol' boys" or something, but again, she just came across as a foul-mouthed lady to me.
Likewise, when I read blogs that use the "F" word as a matter of course, for no other apparent reason, than just being a part of the blogger's casual vocabulary, it gives me a very bad impression of them. And these blogs, again, are women bloggers. Women literary agents, that is.
Look, I said I'm no angel. But when it comes to being professional, imo, you don't use profanity. If you're with friends and having a grand ol' time, on your own time, no problem, but it's just not something that you do if you want to convey professionalism. It's just the way I feel. And the same thing is true in your writing. As an example, there's a book for which I used the "look inside" feature, and the first sentence of the book, the "F" word is used, not because it was someone's dialogue, which I know is necessary if you want to be realistic, but in that book it was part of the narrative.
Nope. I stopped reading and thought to myself, this person is not a good writer, and that was that. And there are a lot of other things you learn about people in their blogs, but this post is already too long. I'll get to that another day.
Friday, March 15, 2013
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Yes, I will receive the next version one more time before publication, so I don't have to worry about that. It's just that I want the absolute best version going back to Penumbra, and of course, they will take it from there. So maybe it will be ready tonight. I have at least until Friday, per the contract. So, again, we'll see.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Monday, March 11, 2013
And that is the reason I have not been quick on the trigger. Because I've learned that already. For once, I'm applying what I've learned in the past with both Killer of Killers and The Vase, to my situation now. Had I sent it the day before or the day before that, or the week before, I would have undergone the same regrets that I've already experienced. So here's to experience and learning from it. So today's the day. When I get home from work, I'll go over those edits one last time, and I plan on sending it.
Friday, March 8, 2013
The problem was when you write a narrative, the words you use in a narrative, are not necessarily the same words that a character would use in dialogue. That was the main thing, really, that needed fixing. And it's fixed.
But you know what? I'm going to go over that manuscript one more time. What? I thought I was going to send it today, after the third time. Heck, I thought I was going to send it Wednesday, after the second time. But I keep making it better, and the contract gives me until next Friday, so I might as well. I'm always glad I did. So tonight will be the fourth time, and then I'll send it back.
Thursday, March 7, 2013
So, one more time, again, I'll go over that manuscript. Mostly I'll be focusing on one particular part. It's a part that was originally a flashback. One of the characters is telling another character what happened, and I originally made it into a flashback after he began talking. But my latest editor doesn't want it to be a flashback, so that part needs a little more work. It's almost there. I think this last time should do it.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
It's not like I'm reading every word throughout the entire manuscript like I did when I went over the edited version the first time. That would take me another week. No, the second time and now the third time I'm just going over the changes. And each time I do, I make better changes.
So why not one more time? Undoubtedly, I"ll find some places I can improve. And if I don't, then that's the assurance I'll need that it's ready to send. And then, who knows, they may make more edits, and send it back to me, and I'll start all over again. We'll see.
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Monday, March 4, 2013
But this time, it wasn't just one editor, it was at least two, and at least three editorial passes. And as a result, you can say that The Vase was put through the editorial "wringer." Boy was it ever. And I'm glad for that. I mean, if I want it to be considered a literary piece worth its salt, I do. And I do.
Virtually every detail worth mentioning in a literary sense was tackled. And I went with it. I didn't object to any of it. Sure there were a couple places where the editors weren't on the same page as me. A couple places where they misunderstood what I was doing, but that was smoothed over. And I didn't know that they were going to require a "source" for the historical figure I mentioned in the book.
That figure was the Roman Military commander in Israel early in the first century. In The Vase, I made that man Marcius Rufus. And the editors wanted the link to confirm that. Fortunately, I did my research, and I had the link. It was a website that had actual letters written by Pontius Pilate when he was on his way to assume the governorship of Israel. Traveling with him was Marcius Rufus, and Pilate made a reference to Rufus being his chief military officer.
So I'm good. But before I send this back, I want to at least review it again. Not read it through word by word, but review all my comments, and all the things I changed. Just because I've learned that that is the smart thing to do. I've learned many times not to be quick on the trigger. Wow, if nothing else, I've learned that. So maybe I'll email Penumbra and tell them I'm done, but that I'll be sending it tomorrow. That's the smart thing to do. And it's what I'll do.