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.



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.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Two Samantha Jones

Sometimes I wish I thought of another name for my female lead in Killer of Killers, because the name Samantha Jones was already used in that romantic comedy sitcom Sex and the City. But I never watched it. And I wasn't aware that it contained a character named Samantha Jones. And she's a blond woman, too. From what I understand, she's a nutty character, played by Kim Cattrall. And she's a good actress, too. And maybe even pretty enough to be my Samantha Jones--if the movie was made 15 years ago, that is. She's way too old for the part now. And I understand that there's a spin off of Sex and the City, and they just cast the part of a younger Samantha Jones in that spin off. And that's why the name Samantha Jones was in the news yesterday.

But it's too late to change the name now. I suppose it's all right. After all, both Samantha and Jones are common names. And I wanted a common name for the female lead because the male lead had the common name of Smith. So Smith and Jones, I thought at the time I first wrote the book, was just right for them. As far as Samantha? I just pulled that out of a hat. At the time, the only Samantha in the movies or TV that I had heard of was Samantha from the show Bewitched. You know, the part played by the late Elizabeth Montgomery. And she was a blond, too. So if nothing else, the name Samantha must convey the image of a woman who is blond because of both TV show characters. And my Samantha is blond, too. So I guess that's consistent, if nothing else. Oh well.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Great to Have More Than One Book

While I'm waiting for Penumbra to publish The Vase, heck, to show me a cover, even, I've been preoccupied with my rewrite of Killer of Killers. And it's been a blast. Every time I read this book, and revise it further, I have so much fun. It's a fun book, after all. The martial arts master, Trent Smith, his mission of vengeance, the adventure he has in America, the training he had in Japan, the lovers he had in Japan and America, it's all such a great story, I never get tired of it.

And for all of the Dustin Clare fans out there, this is a role for him. I've already pointed out how Amber Heard would be great for Samantha Jones, the female lead. I can't wait to get this done. I hope to find an agent to send it to moviemakers, but I'm not sure how that works. Is it the same for movies that it is for books? I mean there must be movie agents, like there's literary agents. I suppose I'll find out. And when I do, I'll let you know. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Rewrites are great, but...

...you've got to be careful. I mean anytime you rewrite something, that means you reintroduce the possibility of TYPOS. I'm so happy with my Killer of Killers rewrite for the corrected POVs and everything, but in double checking it, guess what? I'm finding some typos. Not a lot. But I've found two now. And I'm only half way through chapter four.

And with 18 total chapters, along with a prologue and epilogue, that means I may have another eight typos in there. So, okay. I'm aware of it now. And as long as you are aware of it, then you're more likely to catch it. Still, I'm excited. Can't wait to complete this and send it in to Melange. I will be tooting this horn very loudly at that point. But let's finish this final read through first. Then we'll talk, and toot some horns. A lot of horns.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Melange Agrees to Reload KOK

It's a great day. Melange will indeed reload the rewritten version of Killer of Killers, and it will be released as the second printing. Or would that be second edition? Whatever. It's going to be up to date with the modern POV fiction writing style, and I will be even more into promoting it. However, if you are a collector, and value the first printing, as collectors do, then I might suggest to get your copy right now, or within the next couple of days.

And that's because I'm going to read through KOK one more time, just to make sure I didn't miss anything, and then I will send it to Melange. One of their editors will also read through it, and then it will be re-released. And at that point, only the second printings will be available. To me, that will be the better edition, as it will have all the modern POV limited aspects included.

Either way, I hope you buy a copy. Because then my next move is to find an agent to see if he or she can find a movie director for it. It's a great story for a martial arts movie. So we'll see how that goes. Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Time to Wrap Up KOK

By tomorrow I will finish the edits of Killer of Killers, and hopefully see it reloaded at Melange. Then I will get the promotions in gear. There will be nothing holding me back now. The book will be perfect as far as POV is concerned, and I will try to get it reviewed. Until now, I'm glad it hasn't been reviewed. But after tomorrow, I'll be pushing for it. Better not get ahead of myself. Let's get it reloaded first. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Summer Flying By

Summer's half over now. As always, time is flying by. I didn't expect to write a new book this summer, but I did expect to have The Vase and Killer of Killers completely finished with all revisions, editing, and POV corrections. And Killer Eyes, too, btw. The Vase is done. Killer of Killers is almost done, and Killer Eyes, I expect will be finished by the end of the summer. Really, I hoped to get John Dunn done, too. Because when Killer Eyes and John Dunn have been edited for POV issues, then I'll begin The Killers Guild, which is the third installment of the Trent Smith story. And after that? My YA book. I never figured to write one of those, but I have a pretty good idea for one, and I'm itching to see how it pans out. So I think I will go for it. We'll see.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Revising So Necessary

Even after a billion revisions, a manuscript can be revised for the better. And I'm deleting a lot of unnecessary sentences this last time. Mostly exposition sentences during dialogue. These kind of sentences just make your dialogue longer, and take the focus away from the dialogue. Now there aren't THAT many that I've had to remove, but s few here and there. And it just makes your writing better, so I'm glad I'm doing it. I must say, Killer of Killers and The Vase are very clean manuscripts at this point. No typos, no unnecessary exposition, no wasted words, and most important of all, no POV issues. Both have been specifically edited for third person limited POV errors, and it feels good to know that.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Still Waiting for Final EBOOK of The Vase

...but it should be coming in any day now. That last version, I think, will do it. I personally saw to that. But, you know what? After I check it out, I may make it better still. Right now, I can't fathom what more to do, but revising is something I've learned is never really finished. So we'll see. First, I have to see that my final changes have indeed been implemented. I am relatively sure they will be, as they were the last time. And then, I give my approval, and it's off to the races, so to speak. But this race, I've already won. Can't wait. Will let you know.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Amber Heard - Samantha Jones

Amber Heard
My stats page is telling me that my posts with Amber Heard are drawing the most readers. I can understand that. To me, Amber Heard is the most beautiful actress around. I mean head and shoulders above every other actress. Sure it's a subjective thing. It's my opinion, and everyone else will have their opinion. But since my posts with Amber Heard are drawing so many readers, I think a lot of people must share my opinion.

And that's great. Because Amber Heard is Samantha Jones. NOT the Samantha Jones from Sex and the City. That would be Kim Cattrall. No, Samantha Jones from KILLER OF KILLERS, my debut novel which I hope will be reloaded in the very near future. The writing will be super and the story has always been super.

Samantha Jones is a police detective, and the thing about her is that she just happens to be a very  beautiful police detective. She doesn't flaunt her beauty, in fact she downplays it, although she does know how to use her beauty to her advantage. It's because men can't help but to fall in love with this woman. She's beautiful, not only on the outside, but on the inside, too. She is caring and loving, and committed to helping humanity. And therein lies the story for her.

Dustin Clare
Helping humanity is a huge part of the story to KILLER OF KILLERS, but in many different ways. The main character, Trent Smith, who I envision could be played by actor, Dustin Clare, helps humanity in his own way. And his way and Samantha's way tend to collide. But they fall in love. And there is a love story involved in KILLER OF KILLERS. A real love story. You might even call it a romance.

But this romance is filled with action, violence, killing, and every other type of vice you can think of. It's a well rounded story in that regard. It takes place in Tokyo, New York, San Francisco, Oakland, and even Minnesota. I could go on and on, but this post was supposed to be about Amber Heard. And if KILLER OF KILLERS is made into a movie, she gets the part, hands down.

And that is my next step. That is, finding an agent who can solicit movie makers, and bring to their attention the fact that KILLER OF KILLERS would make a great movie. It's a martial arts action adventure, and it would translate to film quite easily. I won't write the screenplay, though. That's not for me. I wrote the book. My part is done.

Next we find a producer, or a director like Cory Yuen, and get the actors like Dustin Clare and Amber Heard to play the lead roles. It will be a winner. But in the meantime, you might buy the book, read it, and judge for yourself. But wait for the reload. Hopefully, that will happen by the end of this month. I'll be sure to let you know.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Still Finishing KOK

Well, I've said it a million times. And after two complete read-throughs and revisions to improve all POV inconsistencies, I thought this would be ready. But I'm going through it a third time, and even though the POV errors have all been corrected, I'm still finding ways to improve it. Mostly, just improving the prose. But why not? I figure is this gets reloaded, it will be the last time. So I'm going to plow through this and make it the best it can possibly be. The good news? It's a blast. I'm enjoying reading this every bit as much as I ever have. Truly, this is the best book I've ever read. Truly.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Slayer

Since I've been reviewing movies lately, I thought I'd say a word or two about this one. I liked it. The concept unto itself was intriguing, like Cloud Atlas, but unlike Cloud Atlas, it didn't suck. Abe was played well by the actor whose name I forget, and Mary Todd was played well by an actress whose name I forget, but aside from my bad memory, what I didn't forget was that the storyline was terrific.

I didn't like much the idea that vampires had an empire in the southern states, and seemed to be using blacks as a source for their blood supply, but they were taken down by good ol' Abe and his black friend, and even Mary Todd. Oh yeah, there was a good vampire in there, too.

Now one of my pet peeves about vampires movies is when they make vampires able to walk about in the daytime. This movie did that, too, but these vampires didn't sparkle. They were able to go about their business in daylight because of some kind of sunscreen lotion, so at least, the basic trait of sunlight being harmful to them was not changed. They just got around it, is all. And I like that better than the daylight just making them sparkle, which was just plain ridiculous.

But the movie was exciting, well written, and well acted. It was a great production, and it had a great ending. We all know what happened to Abraham Lincoln at the movie theater, and the movie left it at that. Except for one thing...the good vampire. They showed him in the end, but was it really the end? That's the question. Overall a thumbs up for Abe Lincoln, Vampire Slayer.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Stories Should Make Sense

What's the use of writing a story that doesn't make sense? It is a wonder to me that often, Hollywood will make movies that make no sense. From the trailers, I thought Cloud Atlas would make sense. But after seeing it, I was disappointed. Spoiler Alert. It turned out that moguls in the big oil companies wanted to cause a mega disaster that would kill huge amounts of people. What it did was destroy the earth, and throughout the movie, it just didn't make sense. Talk about inhumanity. The story was full of inhumane practices and over the top cruelty. And eventually the earth became  uninhabitable. And to me, none of it made any sense. What I thought was going to be at least an interesting movie with an intriguing concept turned out to be a movie that just plain sucked, and ultimately Cloud Atlas makes my list of all time worst movies ever. That's how bad it was.

World War Z, on the other hand, was exciting and full of action. But I forgot to say one more thing that was a problem for me in yesterday's post about World War Z. They never explained just what caused the zombie problem to begin with. It was just all of a sudden, there were zombies running around. And not your typical zombies that walk around like, well, zombies. No. These zombie were of the variety that could run at full speed like Olympic sprinters. There have been other zombie movies like that, too, and I've always disagreed with that. Zombies, being reanimated dead bodies, should not be Olympic sprinters. And in WWZ, they seemed to be super strong, too. Again, I disagree with that. It's like having vampires that, instead of sunlight being fatal to them, they sparkle. It is changing a fundamental feature of what a creature is supposed to be like. Vampires should not be able to withstand daylight, and  zombies are not athletically gifted.

A good analogy would be making a superman movie where superman is unaffected by green Kryptonite. At least they haven't done that yet.

Monday, July 8, 2013

World War Z -- Not Bad

I forgot to talk about the movie, World War Z, which I saw last week, and it wasn't bad. My oldest son was convinced it would suck, so I only saw it with my wife and youngest son, but I thought it was pretty good. Spoiler Alert. I had only two minor problems with it.

1- Brad Pitt and his family were stuck in traffic just before the crisis hits their urban area. So it's your good old fashioned traffic jam. Only police motorcycles can zip through the small spaces between cars, and that's just what they're doing when some kind of disturbance is happening. It's just ahead and around the block from where Brad's car is stuck. Then we see the zombie's appear, and they're attacking cars and people, and everyone starts to panic. And here's the problem. Suddenly an open lane avails itself to Brad, and he veers his car through it and away from the trouble. But there was no traffic movement. Brad was boxed in a moment before, and the next moment, he's zooming away. It could be that a big truck cleared a path. But it sure looked to me that the truck made the traffic jam worse. Well, it's a movie. We can just say the crashing truck cleared a path.

But then problem number two. Be prepared for an even bigger spoiler alert.

It turns out that Brad makes it to the World Health Organization headquarters, which is still fully manned with all of their technicians. But Brad needs to get this vial of microbes from one of the wings at that complex. Only problem is that particular wing is filled with zombies. It is decided that three people will brave the zombie wing to get that vial.

So of all the healthy people there, who are the three people who go to the trouble to fight off zombies and recover that vial? Brad, of course is one of them. But Brad had just survived a PLANE CRASH, only a couple days prior to that, and he didn't survive it unscathed. A long piece of metal IMPALED HIM, right though his stomach--like sticking in one side and coming out the other! Okay, so no worries of internal bleeding or anything, Brad is superman, after all.

But who else goes with him? A female Israeli soldier goes with him. No problem. Female Israeli soldiers are terrific. But this particular female Israeli soldier had just had her HAND CHOPPED OFF by Brad himself, when she was bitten by a zombie. And that was only like a couple days before. Oh, and by the way, she was in the plane crash, too.

OK, so who else goes? Not just anyone. It's the TOP MAN of the complex, I mean, the TOP GUY. It's like, instead of sending his soldiers or security men, the President of the United States goes out on a mission that might well result in him becoming chow for a bunch of rabid zombies.

So other than that, it was a great movie. A lot of action, suspense and thrills for the whole family. I recommend it. I liked it. But I like zombie movies. Go figure.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Football Camp Coming Up

My oldest son is a football player. He's a great one, too. Takes after his dad. you know. He'll be a senior this coming up year, and I'm taking him to a college football camp. It's for high school aged players, and since he's been doing very well, I thought we might take advantage of his athletic skills, and maximize them for his senior year. He's already been to one football camp and one combine.

It's a good father and son thing. Especially since we both love football so much. So we're leaving tomorrow and we'll be back late Sunday night. Might take the whole family. My wife likes going places, so might as well take her too, and the little brother.

Football has always been one of my favorite things. I even like football stories. I liked Remember the Titans with Denzel Washington, and I liked North Dallas Forty with Nick Nolte, and I even liked The Longest Yard with Burt Reynolds. The first one, that is. The second one, well, even though it had Burt Reynolds in it, Adam Sandler just didn't make for a convincing football player. Maybe it's because he's not. And he couldn't pull it off.

As for me writing a football story? I've thought about it. But no. My next book will be the third book in the Killer series. I was hoping to get started this summer, but that won't happen. I'm still rewriting the first one, and then I'll have to rewrite the second one. Maybe next year. We'll see.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Fourth of July

A holiday like the Fourth of July is really a special holiday. It's not a religious one, and, like Thanksgiving, it's a purely American one. Celebrated only by Americans. It's cool to see other nationalities celebrate it. But I would think they are doing it because they are in America. Would they if they weren't living here? I doubt it.

It's weird, to me, the world view of America. I seem to see and hear and read about how so many people in other parts of the world hate America. Even today, I read about some Bolivian president dissing America, and how his people don't like America.

And of course, the Arabic countries are always voicing their hatred for America. The Great Satan, they call it. And yet, here they come, one and all, into America. It's like a wtf thing. If these people hate America so much, why then do they come to America in droves? They are pouring into America every year. Why do they want to come into and live in a country that they say they hate so much?

I have nothing against immigrants, let me make that clear right now. My grandfather immigrated from Italy. And I am married to an immigrant. My wife was born in Nicaragua, and came here when she was eighteen. But she never said anything other than good things about America. She lived in Nicaragua when the Russians were over there trying to spread Communism. But of course, it didn't work. And Nicaragua was torn by a civil war in the meantime. That's when my wife came over here. It was 1985 or thereabouts.

But I digress. This post is not about Russia or Nicaragua, It's about America and the Fourth of July. I believe most immigrants do love America, and by the third generation will be fully Americanized. I say that because I'm third generation American, and I'm fully Americanized. I think it's that way for everyone no matter what country their grandparents came from.

Happy Fourth of July!