Will iconic images recorded in the grooves of an ancient vase unite the Holy Land or rip it further apart?
A novel by Mark M. DeRobertis
Muhsin Muhabi is a Palestinian potter, descended from a long line of potters. His business is run from the same shop owned by his ancestors since the day his forebears moved to Nazareth. The region's conflict saw the death of his oldest son, and rogue terrorists are in the process of recruiting his youngest in their plot to assassinate the Pope and Israeli prime minister.
Professor Hiram Weiss is an art historian at Nazareth’s Bethel University. He is also a Shin Bet operative on special assignment. With the help of fellow agent, Captain Benny Mathias, he plans to destroy the gang responsible for the death of his wife and only child. He puts a bomb in the ancient vase he takes on loan from Muhsin’s Pottery Shop.
Mary Levin, the charming assistant to the director of Shin Bet, has lost a husband and most of her extended family to recurring wars and never-ending terrorism. She dedicates her life to the preservation of Israel, but to whom will she dedicate her heart - the brilliant professor from Bethel University - or the gallant captain who now leads Kidon?
Harvey Holmes, the Sherlock of Haunted Houses, is a Hollywood TV host whose reality show just flopped. When a Lebanese restaurant owner requests his ghost-hunting services, he believes the opportunity will resurrect his career. All he has to do is exorcise the ghosts that are haunting the restaurant. It happens to be located right across the street from Muhsin’s Pottery Shop.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
There's positive and negative about that. It might take longer, but I don't care about that. Maybe I did for my first book. Being a first time published author, I was eager to see my book in print. But in the long run, that is not advisable. You want your manuscript to be the best it can be. Period. And if Penumbra implements my latest edits, (which are based on their own edits, btw,) then it will be the best it can be.
And while I'm waiting to see if they do, I'm going to apply all that I've learned to my other manuscripts. Yes, even Killer of Killers. I've already had it relaunched three times at Melange because I wasn't satisfied after it was published. At least they were cooperative, and agreed to it. But after my latest experiences with The Vase, I have found that I prefer the guidelines for writing and editing that Penumbra uses, and I want to apply those guidelines to Killer of Killers, too. I've already started. The past couple days, I've been redoing it, using Penumbra's strict POV guidelines, and other writing standards they have. It makes for better writing. The lazy writer wouldn't do that. But lazy is something I am not. And that's how you become a better writer. By taking the time to learn, and then applying what you've learned. We'll see where this leads me.
Monday, April 29, 2013
Friday, April 26, 2013
So now, after a day of no response from Penumbra, and with a very important attachment, (my final edits to The Vase,) I emailed again last night, just asking if they got it. Of course, after only one day, I don't expect that they had time to review it yet, but just let me know they got it is all I'm asking. I don't even want to remember the fiasco that occurred with Cogito. That situation was the worst it could get. They never responded, even to my emails asking for confirmation. So now I'm waiting for Penumbra to respond. I mean, anything is possible. Could be they're out of town, out sick, busy with other projects, some emergency, or they got it, and are delving into it right away... That's why I recommend confirmation. Communication -- very important.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
But they were agreeable, and I expect everything to work out well. We'll see, but if they do, I would like them to edit my other books. First, however, I'll go over them myself and make sure they conform to the Penumbra guidelines, which are pretty strict. Very strict I should say, and that is something I appreciate. That's the way your book gets to be the best it can be, and what author wouldn't want that?
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Monday, April 22, 2013
Friday, April 19, 2013
But getting back to the edits on The Vase, I am so impressed and so thrilled with the quality of these edits, it's as if this book might be competing with the top literary works of today. And I'd bet it would hold up, thanks to the high literary standards at Penumbra. We'll see.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Monday, April 15, 2013
But none of that is the case. All my files were saved, and now they're backed up, and everything is okay. So I'm reviewing all my edits again, and once I reach where I left off, I'll finish this with the knowledge that The Vase is as good as it can possibly be. And that is because of Penumbra's staunch literary standards. I'm very pleased their top editor has such a high stake in my book. He is obviously vested in it, seemingly as much as I am. And that's what it takes to make a book the best it can be. Your editor has to be committed to it as much as you are. And apparently he is.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
And if the files cannot be recovered, then I'll get started on redoing the edits from the last two weeks. So for now, it's vacation time. Until tomorrow anyway.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
The last time I did, I had my manuscripts on two different flash drives, but the last time I saved them was about six months ago or more.
This means the work on The Vase that I've been doing since Penumbra sent me my second round of edits might be lost. My fingers are crossed that they are not. Right now, the guys at Fry's Electronics are working on my computer to replace the hard drive, and they said that in most cases they can recover the data, but there is always a chance that they can't. So again, my fingers are crossed.
It won't really be a disaster for The Vase. Because as far as The Vase goes, it means just redoing the last two weeks of going over those edits. I can do that again, and it will probably even be better.
But Killer Eyes hasn't been backed up since last June. That means all the work I did on that one since June might be gone. And that will be a shame. Even a disaster.
Why did I get out of the habit of backing up my files? Because I had a brand new Sony Vaio, that I believed wouldn't crash like that, that's why. No other computer I've had ever did that. Not my Dells, not my HP, and not any of the Apples I've had at work. Nope. Only the Sony did this. Sony. What I thought was the best, turned out to be the worst. It was only two years old. My family uses my old HP, and it's still going strong. Four years later, that is. I've had my Sony Vaio for two years and now it's caput.
So this means that Sony is not nearly as good as HP, or Dell, or Apple. Hey it's not like I abused it in any way. I treated it like gold. Kept it clean, stayed free of questionable websites, and had Norton Antivirus on it, and scanned it almost daily.
So no more Sony for me. If Frys can fix it, (I bought the three year service contract) then great. I'm typing this on a Lenovo which is my loaner from Fry's. By comparison, I'm liking it better than my Sony. But that's not hard to say when my Sony is caput. So here's to hoping Fry's can fix my Sony and retrieve my data. But if they can't, I'll never buy a Sony again. Period.
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Monday, April 8, 2013
Friday, April 5, 2013
Well, there is something that could be worse. Getting something so wrong that readers will think you didn't do your research. Now, I did do a good amount of research in The Vase, and learned about Mossad, the Kidon, and the IDF. But in that research I missed Shin Bet and Aman. But as I go back and research it now, I can't believe I missed Shin Bet and Aman. After all, they are two of the three main intelligence "communities" in Israel, and have been for some time. When I research them now, they are there plain as day. How did I miss them before?
To be clear, Aman is the military intelligence branch, Shin Bet is the national or domestic intelligence branch, and Mossad is the foreign or international intelligence branch. So if the intelligence activities were to take place outside of Israel's borders, then it's on Mossad. But within Israel, it's all about Shin Bet. So my story, taking place in Nazareth, which is inside of Israel, would be under the jurisdiction of Shin Bet.
So, okay, I got that now, and in time. I'm making all the changes and all the adjustments. The Vase will be legit now, and I won't look like a dummy for using the wrong agency. But I still can't believe I missed it before. No worries, it's not missed now.
Thursday, April 4, 2013
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Fortunately, I learned about the difference between Shin Bet and Mossad, and in time to be included in this latest round of edits. Most importantly, all the grammar and punctuation, etc. will be spot on. Because there will always be haters out there. People will criticize other people's work just for the sake of criticism. And it's better if that criticism was based on something subjective, like whether or not they liked something based solely on their opinion. But if it's something objective, like flaws in grammar, punctuation, et al, that could be embarrassing. And that's the biggest benefit in having a strict editor. I'm glad my editor at Penumbra is as strict as they come.
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
At any rate, since I'm told it's called only Shin Bet in that movie, I think I'll follow suit and call it that. Not Shabak, and not the ISA. After all, I was calling Mossad Mossad, and not the English equivalent. (Although I'm not sure it has an English equivalent.) But Shin Bet sounds better than the Israel Security Agency. And furthermore, I already have several references to the IDF. I don't want to compound my manuscript with another three letter organization that starts with an I. So after a night's worth of deliberation, at least for now, I'm settling on Shin Bet.
Monday, April 1, 2013
To be clear, in English, it's the Israel Security Agency, or the ISA. But in Hebrew, it's a lot of Hebrew words which I won't even try to write here, or even in my book. But Shabak is the acronym for it. And Shin Bet is the first two Hebrew letters for it, you know, the abbreviation, like the CIA or FBI. So they call it Shin Bet, but according to Wikipedia, it's better known as Shabak, but since my book is in English, perhaps I should just call it the Israel Security Agency, and the ISA.
More people are familiar with Mossad, though, and I wish I could just call it that. But there's a new documentary/movie out now, called The Gatekeepers, and even though I haven't seen it yet, I'm told it features Shin Bet. Or Shabak. I'll have to see it, and then I might have a better idea how I should refer to it. Shin Bet, or Shabak, or the Israel Security Agency.