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.



Friday, May 31, 2013

Killer Eyes--Antagonist

In the sequel to Killer of Killers, which has the working title Killer Eyes, the antagonist is a Chinese woman named Ming Sang, and she comes the closest of all the villains in my four books to being a sociopath. But she's really not. She knows the difference between right and wrong, and she does care about other people, but she's cold-hearted. Not cruel, but unrelenting in the pursuit of her own brand of justice. It has to do with the Chinese holocaust, which is something that most Americans know nothing, or very little about. It took place during WWII, like the Jewish holocaust, but in China and it was orchestrated by the Japanese military against Chinese civilians, mostly in the city of Nanking. By extension, it occurred throughout the Chinese countryside during the conquest and occupation of southeast China. The Japanese soldiers were particularly cruel to the Chinese, and the estimates of Chinese civilian casualties are in the millions. Ming Sang is the granddaughter of a Chinese resistance fighter who organized a death squad which hunts down and executes all Japanese ex-military men who were involved in that holocaust. Not unlike Jewish Nazi hunters. And my main character, Trent Smith was trained by a martial arts expert named Shoji Wada who is a veteran of the Japanese military, and he was there. At Nanking. But that's all I need to say at this point. Except for the obvious, that Ming Sang targets Shoji Wada for execution. But she does it her own way, and as a means for another end that has nothing to do with Nanking. Okay, that's all for now. I'm not even finished revising it yet.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Sociopaths? No Thanks

I just read an article about sociopaths, and thought about how many villains in books or movies are sociopaths. You know, villains who know what they are doing is wrong, but just don't care. Stories are littered  with them. But none of my books are. Sure, I've got antagonists in every book I wrote. Villains, to be sure, but none are sociopaths. No serial killers, no psychotic weirdos, and no one who could claim insanity as a defense.

I have more than one antagonist in each book. And the most interesting might be Abraham Soriah in Killer of Killers. He's the billionaire recluse who funds the research for the drug, Eternity. He's an old guy, about 88 years old. But is he really a bad guy? You have to read the book to find out. Killer of Killers has other antagonists, too. There's Karl Manoukian and Josh Jones, who may or may not be considered antagonists to the hero, Trent Smith. The reader will have to decide for him/herself.

Tomorrow, I'll talk about Killer Eyes. It's not published yet, but it really is the conclusion to the Killer of Killers story. Until then.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Summer Coming Soon

As does every school year, this school year went by fast, and the summer vacation is coming soon. For four consecutive summers I wrote a new book. Last summer I didn't because I was revising Killer of Killers and The Vase so much that those projects took up my time. This summer, I'd like to write a new book, but I'm not sure I will. I will try to get started on the third installment of the Killer franchise, but I'm always thinking of a new story to try. Like I did with The Vase and John Dunn. Speaking of John Dunn, I might go back to that one and revise it to the standards I have learned with Penumbra. Or not. Again, I'm overdue to write my fifth novel, and now that the summer vacation is upon me, it's time to start giving that some serious thought. Hhmmnnn...

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Next Star Trek Movie

Okay, it was my son's birthday on Monday, but on Saturday I took him, his friends, and my second son to the new Star Trek movie. I've mentioned that I was a fan of the original series, and I've also said that I thought all of the Star Trek movies sucked. Even the first reboot of the original series. Captain Kirk, you see, is one of my all time favorite characters, and I hated how the first movie portrayed him, and I hated the entire reboot.

But I didn't hate the second one. No, I didn't like it, but I didn't hate it. It still sucked, to be sure, but not as much. Oh, heck, it did suck as much. Spoiler alert coming up. So stop reading if you plan on seeing it. Okay. Again, the rehashing of old stories is one thing, but the redoing of old stories is another. Can it be done? Sure. But it takes some great writing, and for some reason, no Star Trek movie can seem to find great writing. With all of the great stories from the original series to choose from, they keep going back to the Khan character. He was a great character, yes, but the other Star Trek movies already redid that guy. Doesn't mean these movies can't redo him, too, but making a Star Fleet Admiral the bad guy, as they did in this movie, is just bogus to me.

And changing a character's race, to me, seems like a cop out. The movies of the Marvel universe did that with Nick Fury. They changed him from a white man to a black man. It wasn't the first time. The movies changed the iconic character of James West from a white man to a black man. Both instances were bogus. Sure black men can be just as heroic, but that's not my point. (But thought I better throw that in.) Introduce a new character who's black if you want to feature a heroic black man. Don't just be lazy and change a white man into a black man. That sounds too much like that guy from the past who used to sing, "Mammy."

But I digress. In this new Star Trek movie, they changed the great villain Khan from being an East Indian to being another white man. It's as if Hollywood is too afraid to portray a minority as a villain. The villains, to them, seemingly, must be white for fear of criticism from which a minority group is represented, and in this case, the Indian people. Khan Noonian Singh. I've had plenty of students named Singh. All were brown-skinned people from India. The original Khan was played by a great Mexican actor, Ricardo Maltalban. Which worked. Ricardo Maltalban was not a blue-eyed white skinned person. He was a brown skinned, brown-eyed actor who fit the part.

But now, it's got to be a white skinned, blue-eyed actor for the villain. Which would be cool if it was someone else. Besides Khan. But Hollywood is almost always afraid. I remember many shows where they changed terrorists from the brown skinned Arabs, (which they are,) to white skinned neo-Nazis. Who have just as much potential for terror, no doubt, but they aren't the ones threatening the Western world today. Just some thoughts. And my final thought on the Star Trek movie is this: It kept me watching, but when it was over I thought it sucked. Period.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Killer of Killers, the Movie starring...

Dustin Clare as martial arts champion Trent Smith, whose quest for justice leads him into the hearts of two beautiful women, but also into the bowels of a secret society of immortal supermen.

Amber Heard as Samantha Jones, the beautiful blond police detective who investigates the rogue vigilante and falls in love with him while she's at it.

Estella Daniels as Susie Quinn, the beautiful exotic dancer who saves Trent's life at the Flip Flop Club in New York City after his knock down drag out fight with a giant Samoan bodyguard.

Max Von Sydow as Abraham Soriah, the aged, reclusive billionaire who funds the research of the wonder drug Eternity, which cures all disease, heals injuries at an incredibly fast pace, and even stops the aging process. But his plan for the drug is less than altruistic.







Eugene Levy as Karl Manoukian, the millionaire businessman, and Abraham Soriah's disgruntled partner who opposes Soriah's plan for the drug.












 

Dennis Haysbert as Charles Morgan, Sorirah's right hand man and second in command of Soriah's multi-billion dollar empire.












Dolph Lundgren as Josh Jones, Samantha's older brother and former football star who quits Soriah's inner circle to band with his sister and Karl Manoukian in an effort to foil Soriah's plan.



Okay, so it's all just wishful thinking at this point. But so was getting the book published once upon a time. And now that it is, the movie version is next. All I need is a movie director like Cory Yuen to decide to do it. Or any well regarded movie director who's looking for a new and original plot around which a martial arts movie can be based. And if that happens, then these are the actors I would recommend for the parts. And if it doesn't happen, then readers can envision these actors in the roles as they read the story for themselves. Or not. One of the great things about books is the reader can envision any face they want that fits the descriptions of the characters. And as the author, (and as a reader,) these are the actors and actresses I would choose. It doesn't mean no one else could fit the parts. But for now, anyway, these actors and actresses get the nod.

Of course, there are many other characters in the story -- supporting characters with smaller roles, and bit parts. There's Shoji Wada, the aged martial arts master who heads the Tokyo Dojo where Trent trained for twenty years. There's Yoshiko Wada, Shoji's granddaughter, and Trent's first love. And there's Jiro Honda, Trent's best friend from the dojo, who leaves the dojo for a career in espionage. And several more minor characters whose roles are integral to the story line.  I would love for any readers to offer their own suggestions for the roles. In the meantime, stay tuned.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Writer's Dream

I would think that after finding a publisher and having a novel published, the next thing that would make a writer's dream come true is having his/her book made into a movie. And I've often talked about that on the blog. Just to have some fun, tomorrow I will list all of the characters in Killer of Killers, along with photos of the actors and actress who would best fit the parts.

Sure, I've talked about Trent Smith and Samantha Jones, and recently I've found an actress who might be right for Susie Quinn, but the cast in that story includes many other very interesting characters. And even though I haven't talked much about them, it doesn't mean I haven't given them much thought. So today, I will research the actors and actresses out there and try to download some photos, so I can present the cast of characters and the actors and actresses who could play them, along with the photos of what they would look like in the story Killer of Killers.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Publishers Responsible for Quality

When people buy books do they prefer certain publishers over others? Well, when people buy cars, for example, it is often the case that they prefer a Ford or a Chevrolet, or a BMW, or a even a Mercedes. And when people buy clothes, they often prefer a particular brand over another, and so on. So is it the same with books?

No. With books, it's different. It's the book, not the publisher that spurs interest and sales. But even though I think it's not the same, I also think it's true that publishers are responsible for the quality of their product. Just as car makers are responsible for the quality of their cars, and if they turn out flawed, they often recall them by the thousands and fix them.

Which is what publishers should do. Firstly, a publisher won't accept a book unless they see the potential in it that will make achieving that quality possible. And if it isn't at that point yet, it certainly is the publisher's responsibility in conjunction with the author to get it there. And then the publisher should be sure, very sure, that the book is at the level of quality it needs to be when they publish it. And if mistakes are made, which may happen since no one is perfect, then you do like the car companies do. Recall those books and fix them. Or in the case of POD publishing, just reload the book.

That's one advantage POD publishers have. They don't print out books by the thousands, and then hope someone buys them. They print them as they are ordered, that is, after they are paid for. That's a good system. It's good for the publisher and the buyer, too. Even the author can have some solace that when errors are still prevalent, then they can get fixed before more books are printed. It's good for everyone.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Killer Franchise

With the publication of Killer of Killers, and the sequel, Killer Eyes coming soon, I might consider that my Killer franchise. I do hope to write a third book in the series one day. I've talked about it a little bit here on the blog, and tentatively call it The Killers Guild. Maybe not, but for now it sounds good. I'm thinking of having it take place somewhere in Asia, and I might use the backdrop of a fighting tournament as a setting. I know that's been done before. I mean the tournament setting. Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, and others have used a fighting tournament as a setting, but so what? When it comes to repeated settings, I might say most stories have used the same or similar settings for their stories. And since my main character, Trent Smith, is a fighter, and a veteran of several fighting tournaments, why not have it as a setting for one of his books? I would plan on it being the only time, though. But the plot, I would hope would be original. And I'm still working on that. Plus a couple surprises might make it even more interesting. Still working on that, too. So we'll see.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Let's Go

This week will be four weeks since I sent my final edits to The Vase and I've heard nothing back. Usually by two, or at the most, three weeks they get back to me. I'm still waiting on a cover design, too. Just getting antsy, that's all. I need to see that my final edits have been implemented. If they are, (and I don't have any reason at this  point to believe they haven't,) then it's a great book and it's ready to roll. So let's go!

Friday, May 17, 2013

POV--Third Person Limited

When it comes to fiction writing, third person omniscient is not in vogue. What is in vogue is third person limited. That means each scene should be written in the POV of one person. And the only thing that is revealed to the reader is what that POV person knows, or perceives. So if something is happening beyond your POV character's knowledge, then the reader also does not know.

In the past, that wasn't the case. But times change. And I'm up to date with it now. Changing what you've already written to conform to third person limited isn't really all that hard to do, as long as you have a full understanding of it. And now I do. So the corrections are coming easy to me. Thank goodness for revisions. And a good editor.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Do Women Really Want to Fight?

Women can be heroes. No question about it. But do women really want to be the kind of heroes that fight? I mean punch people, kick people, and hurt people? Do they? I mean, really? I don't see women to be like that. Yet, Hollywood seems intent on portraying women heroes in that manner.

Let's be clear. I know there are some tough women out there. No question. But the toughest woman is not as tough as the toughest man. Oh no, does saying that make me a sexist? How could it? Generally speaking, women are not as tough, or not as strong, or not as fast, as men. Generally speaking. Oh no, does saying that make me a sexist?

How does that make me a sexist when it's true. Sure some women may be capable of beating up some men. But the best women fighters out there would have no chance in a fight with the best men fighters. No chance. Zero. But I digress. My point is, would they even want to? My perception of women, is that they are NOT fighters. They DON'T WANT to fight. Fighting is abhorrent to them. Why would a woman even WANT to fight? Even in adolescence, women are not prone to be fighters. Sure there's exceptions. I'm a Middle School teacher, after all, and I've seen plenty of girl fights.

But those fights are with other girls. Even at that age, a girl would be wise not to get into a physical fight with a boy. It just isn't right. Of course, fighting at all is not right. But then you have the sporting aspect of it. You know, boxing, wrestling, the MMA fights and so on. Fighting is an ugly sport, insofar as it involves the deliberate hurting of your opponent. And again, my perception of women is that they don't want to hurt other people. Is that perception incorrect?

Again, let's be clear. I am NOT talking about self defense. That is another issue, and in self defense, anything goes. But, again, that's NOT what I'm talking about. You have these movies where you have a woman hero, and they're these super fighters. I don't have to name the movies, they're out there. Even in cartoons and animated shows. But is that the only way they can be heroes?

Of course not. History is full of examples of women heroes, who were heroes in other ways than physically fighting other people. In other ways than in hurting and punching other people. I don't have to name the ways. To me, fighting, physically hurting people, even killing people, is not a "girl" thing. It's a "guy" thing. Oh no, does saying that make me a sexist? Or does that make you the sexist?

I'm all for women's lib, and such, but fighting is not a pleasant thing. It never was, and never will be. Again, I'm not talking about self defense. But when Hollywood depicts women as super fighters in their efforts to portray female heroes, it's a very shallow and short-sighted attitude. Women are just as brave and just as heroic as men. But generally speaking they don't want to hurt people. Am I wrong to believe that? I don't think so.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

New Star Trek Movie Coming

I panned the last Star Trek movie, the reboot of the original series. Heck, during that panning, I panned every Star Trek movie that's ever been made. They all sucked. While I was at it, I panned four of the six Star Wars movies, too. And I'm not that hard to please. Really.

But the people in charge of those movies just plain dropped the ball. Like Lucas after the Empire Strikes Back, they just seemed to lose sight of what the movies should be, or what the original series was all about -- a great show with great writing. Instead, Star Trek and Star Wars seemed to choose the bubble gum crowd as their audience. And in doing so, chose comedy and goofiness as a means of story telling. And when they did that, for me, at least, the magic was gone.

Star Trek the original series and the first two Star Wars were serious stories, gritty stories, even realistic, although that may be argued, but to me they were. You had a great character and a great hero in Capt. Kirk, and one in Spock, too. In Star Wars, Luke and Han Solo were great characters.

But they became adolescents, and thrown to the kiddy crowd. The stories and new supporting characters were cartoon-like, and comedic. I never cared much for comedies. Those are hard to do. Sure it's pulled off sometimes, and I agree that even serious movies should have some comedic elements in them, but turning a hard core dramatic genre into a tongue in cheek fiasco is just plain wrong. They did that with the James Bond franchise. Sure they made their money, but the films were far inferior. At least, with the Daniel Craig versions, the serious and gritty Bond flicks are back. Maybe it can happen with Star Trek and Star Wars, too. But I won't hold my breath.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Finding Solutions in Revisions

So while re-editing Killer of Killers, I am finding places where the POV is suspect, but the fun is in correcting them. Often, the POV character is not established in the first paragraph, and I'm changing that. It's revising all over again. And I've always felt that the revision stage is the most fun part of the writing process. Or the editing stage, really, because then, at least, you have a publisher, and working with a publisher is way more fun, than going it on your own.

And I appreciate the editorial wringer. It was Penumbra who put me through that. Maybe Melange was more loose about that, but I'm not a lazy writer. I'm not a lazy anything. Whatever I do, I want to do the best that I can do. And when it comes to art or writing, something that will last for posterity, you better get it right, because once you've moved on, it will remain the way you left it. So get it right.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Over Two Weeks and Counting

It's been over two weeks since I sent my final edits to Penumbra. When I sent my first round of edits back to them, it took two weeks for them to send the second round. They made it clear that they wanted that to be the final edits, which is why I called it my "final edits." And it's also why I took my time and made every possible change. If it was to be the "final edits," I didn't want to happen what happened with Killer of Killers. That would be finding things to change after it got published. But Melange was gracious and allowed the reloads. It's the advantage of POD publishing.

So I am presuming that Penumbra is also taking their time implementing all of those final changes. But I have learned that you shouldn't presume anything. I made it clear that they were absolutely necessary, so I'm hoping they are implementing them. Which is why I'm so looking forward to receiving the PDF print proof copy. The last one they sent me was premature, and I made that clear, too. This is a big thing for me. It's why I'm going over KOK yet again. I don't know how Melange will react when I tell them I want KOK reloaded yet again.

But it will be necessary. After learning so much from Penumbra, and making The Vase perfect as far as edits is concerned, I want the same thing for KOK. It makes the writing so much better. Who wouldn't want that?

Friday, May 10, 2013

Estella Daniels--Susie Quinn?

I have talked about actors and actresses who could play the roles of the main characters in Killer of Killers before, specifically Dustin Clare or Casper Van Dien as Trent Smith the martial arts champion who becomes a rogue vigilante, and Ellen Hollman or Amber Heard, either of whom would be great as Samantha Jones, the beautiful blond San Francisco Police Detective. I had even suggested Max Von Sydow as Abraham Soriah, but actors like Christopher Plummer or even Richard Harris might work, too, for the aged and reclusive billionaire.


But I never could find an actress for Susie Quinn, the beautiful black exotic dancer who falls in love with Trent Smith. Well, I was watching the Starz show, DaVinci's Demons recently, and there she was...Susie Quinn, or Estella Daniels, I should say. Because it was a bit part, I didn't really get a good look at her, her part was probably less than a minute, and she never reappeared, at least not yet, but from what I did see, she might be the actress that would be great for the part. She's 5' 7" just like Susie Quinn, and as you can see for yourself, a very beautiful woman, just like Susie Quinn.

But I wouldn't call her perfect for the role, not like, say, Amber Heard is for Samantha Jones. But of all the actresses I've seen so far, she comes the closest, and if i was casting for the part today, she would get the nod.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Rolling Stones, live

Well, I reviewed a movie this week, so I should say something about the Rolling Stones concert that I went to last night. My brother  had an extra ticket for the "tongue pit" as they call it at Stones' concerts, and we got there early enough to be in the very front, "on the rail" as they say. It's the best seat in the house, and even though I'm not particularly a Stones "fan" I have no problem admitting the truth -- that they put on a great show, and Mick Jagger, one year shy of 70, performed, danced, and moved like he was still 18. And I'm not exaggerating. The energy he displayed while fronting this legendary band was nothing short of amazing. Since I'm not a die hard fan, I didn't know all of the songs they played, but they played enough of their classic hits to make me feel at home. Get Off My Cloud, Satisfaction, Brown Sugar, Jumping Jack Flash, Sympathy for the Devil, and Midnight Rambler were among them. So the show was flawless, and the guest appearance by John Fogerty and Bonnie Raitt, though not particularly my cup  of tea, was a pleasant surprise. But it was Jagger, of course, who made the show great. And my being in the front row made it even better.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Speaking of Movies

Talked about the Star Trek movie yesterday, about how bad it was, but today I remembered all of the Star Trek movies sucked. Every one of them. I remember way back when they decided to make the first Star Trek movie. Star Trek, the Motion Picture, it was called. Sure I was excited about it. It was frustrating that they had to witness the phenomenal success of the Star Wars movies to convince them that they should do it. But they did. And I saw it. And it sucked.

The producers sucked, the story sucked, the writing sucked. It was great they got all the original actors, but every movie, right up to the reboot, sucked. If they could have hired Harlan Ellison, or someone who can actually write, it probably would have been great. But rehashing two of the original series episodes was a lousy idea. I'm talking about The Changeling, which was what the first movie was based on, and then Space Seed, which is what the second movie was based on. Both were horrid, and so was every Star Trek movie since.

Meanwhile, Star Wars finally came out with its second trilogy and it sucked, too. I'm not going o go into those, but after The Empire Strikes Back, which was the best, they have all sucked. And no, I'm not hard to please. But I'll call it like I see it. Star Wars one and two were great. Number 3 sucked, and so did all the rest. I'm not optimistic about what Disney's going to do. But I'll probably see them. And then I'll have more to complain about. But maybe not. Disney has a knack of making good movies. Usually.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Star Trek Reboot--Hated it

I never talked about the Star Trek reboot movie that came out a couple years ago. The one where time is changed, and Captain Kirk and his crew live their lives in a different time line. It sucked. Really bad. I was a fan of the original series, and I can't believe how bad that movie was. James Kirk is now a delinquent, Spock's planet gets destroyed, Dr. McCoy is the ultimate warrior, Vaako, from Chronicles of Riddick, Uhura is in love with Spock, Scotty is on some obscure planet living a solitary existence with a pet alien, Chekov is some boy genius, the likes of Will Robinson, or even, shudder, Wesley Crusher, who I never could stand, and Sulu is the guy from Harold and Kumar.

It was all a bad joke to me, and to anyone else who was a hardcore fan of the original series. Nor could I stand the stand-in aliens, one in a bar, a la Star Wars, and a spattering of cartoon-like aliens here and there. Again, it was a complete rip-off of Star Wars. And again, it was a bad joke.

All of the characters were miscast, except, perhaps, Spock. Zachary Quinto actually looked the part. But Kirk? Wrong actor. Chris Pine looked just like what they portrayed him as--a delinquent. And that's my problem. Captain Kirk, even in a different time line, was no delinquent. I'm sure the writers will argue that growing up without his father made him into a delinquent, but that's assuming that anyone who grows up without a father is guaranteed to be a delinquent. And I'll never believe that. It's bull crap.

Scotty being played by Simon Pegg, was all right, but being assigned to a solitary assignment removed and apart from everyone else? Nope. His talent was such that he would be heading the most important engineering jobs around at the time. Which was why he was assigned head engineer to the USS Enterprise, and not falling into that job by mere chance as this movie had it.

And Uhura? Uhura was African, not African American, as established at least twice in the original series. Her first language was Swahili, not English and the writers of this movie disregarded that. Which I believe is an insult to all of Africa and all Africans. (It would have been the same thing if they made Scotty no longer Scottish, or Chekov no longer Russian, but they didn't do that, did they?) But Zoe Saldana was no African and she just didn't look the part. She didn't convey the elegance, the dignity that was played to perfection by Nichelle Nichols. And that pathetic attraction to Spock? It's true she flirted with Spock in a very early episode on STTOS, but to anyone who has any perception abilities, she was just messing with Spock,while singing a song. She wasn't attracted to him. Her taste in men was exemplified twice during the original series. First, she was attracted to a strong looking and well spoken African man, as depicted in The Man Trap. Second, she admitted being attracted to Captain Kirk himself in the episode Plato's Children. But she was never attracted to Spock. That was nothing more than a joke.

And Sulu? Harold? Come on.

And Dr. McCoy? Played by the warrior Vaako? Well, actually, he kind of did look the part. But Karl Urban (Vaako) playing Dr. McCoy is akin to Eric Bana, (Hector) playing Dr. Bruce Banner. It's just not him. BTW, Eric Bana, the perennial good guy in all of his other movies, just happened to be the bad guy, Nero, in this movie. Another example of miscasting.

And the guy playing Chekov didn't even remotely look like him. And another thing. Chekov wasn't even around for the first year of the series, which means he wouldn't have been there for the Enterprise's maiden voyage, as he was depicted in this movie. All wrong.

Oh, well. Now the second one is about to come out. I'll see it. And then probably have some more to complain about. It'll give me something to write about.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Killer of Killers Improved

Still not quite halfway through the re-edit of Killer of Killers, but I can say it's already a much better book. The original edit did address POV issues, but not thoroughly. After learning so much from Penumbra, it behooved me to revisit KOK, and incorporate all of that into that one. And then what? Ask Melange to republish it? Or something else? Not quite sure, but I'm considering my options.

Meanwhile, I'm awaiting the PDF print proof of The Vase, and I am expecting all of my final edits to be incorporated into that one. If they are, then The Vase is ready for publication. I believe they will be. After all, the final edits were mostly about what Penumbra was trying to drill into my head. And they finally succeeded. But I'll have to see it for myself. I expect it any day now. Will let you know.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Another Publisher Interested in The Vase

It was just yesterday I received an email from another publisher I had queried more than a year ago, expressing interest in publishing The Vase. Of course, I replied that it was being published by Penumbra, but still it makes me glad that The Vase had received such a large number of positive interest from a collection of different publishers. That publisher was something like the eighth publisher to at least express interest, and there have been five that have actually offered contracts. Penumbra is the third publisher with whom I had signed. The other two, I have documented thoroughly already, so no need to rehash that. But there was another publisher who offered a contract last December, which was before I had committed to Penumbra, but I was already working with Penumbra, polishing the writing, specifically the POV, that I wanted to at least see that through, so I passed, and, of course, Penumbra did offer the contract. If you go to the "coming soon" page on the Penumbra website, The Vase is already listed. So it's real, and I think it will be available by this summer. Can't wait. Still waiting on the return of the final edits, in the PDF print proof. The last one looked good. They have a picture of a vase on the first page of every chapter, which is cool. And it's close to what I envisioned the vase to look like, too. And the quality of the publication seemed great. Again, can't wait.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

POV can be tricky

So even after going over the manuscript of KOK with a resolve to perfect all POVs, I still find myself fixing parts that I had thought were acceptable. I was almost half way through the manuscript, but last night I decided to start from the beginning, and sure enough, right there in chapter one I found POV issues that were still there. Just to reiterate, I'm applying the lessons I learned from my experiences with Penumbra. Specifically, very strict guidelines about third person limited POV, dialogue tags, and character descriptions. It's all about getting your writing to a higher level of literary standards. And who wouldn't want that? It makes you a better writer and it makes your writing a lot better. So you keep at it, and at it and at it. Like anything else, the more you do it, the better you get. I learned that a long time ago.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Killer of Killers--a Great Story

While I'm re-editing Killer of Killers, I'm still amazed with that story line. Here I am rereading it, for like the millionth time, and I'm getting a kick out of it still. It remains my favorite book/story of all time. Yeah, The Vase is close, but still, for me, Killer of Killers takes the cake. One of the main things I've been focusing on in this round of edits is the whole issue of POV, more specifically third person limited. I've always hated first person POV. Second person is cool, but not for that story. And when I wrote it, I thought I was using third person omniscient, but since then, starting with the editors at Melange, I've learned that in today's fiction writing, third person omniscient is not vogue. In fact, it's taboo. Don't do it. What's in vogue is third person limited.

And when Melange told me that, they seemed to be focused on the main character.  And being new to the concept, I didn't connect the dots, and use the same guidelines for the secondary and/or supporting characters. It wasn't until the editors at Penumbra got a hold of The Vase did I finally get my brain wrapped around that concept. All characters need the same standards of POV so as to be consistent with the third person limited POV. They drilled it into me, and now I've finally got it.

So now that I'm thoroughly satisfied with The Vase, (providing Penumbra implements all of my final edits,) I can go back to KOK and make the same kind of edits. And there are plenty of places to do it. Another example is establishing the POV character in each scene. You don't want to wait beyond the first paragraph to do that. It's very important, and now that I finally get it, I'm making everything work in that book. Just as they do in The Vase. And you know what? It's fun. I think the editing stage is the most enjoyable phase of writing. The most relaxing, too.