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, January 31, 2014
But there are two things about the publishing world that stand out to me. And they are kind of opposites. One is that writers really don't compete against each other. In fact, they often have the attitude to help their fellow writers, not just through the process of writing, but in the pursuit of publication. For example, the website Absolute Write has been phenomenal in its direct approach to aid writers in their quest for both representation and publication. I've used that website a lot, and I can't say enough how helpful they have been to me. There are other websites, too, and bloggers that help out other writers. It's a very selfless world of people who care about other writers.
But now the opposite side of the coin. That selfless inclination to help fellow writers only goes so far. Once a writer has his or her work published, that's as far as that help goes. After that, as I've found, a writer is on his or her own. And for an unknown writer like me, it's a very lonely place to be. I know no one in the media. Zero. I have no connections. I have no means to publicize or promote my work. I'm a school teacher, and I can't even promote my books to my students, because they are under 18, and Killer of Killers, which I would compare to an R rated movie, is not for minors. The Vase, which I would consider to be a PG rated story would be okay for minors to read, but even so, it's really a book for adults. It isn't a book that could be classified as an MG or YA book.
And when it comes to asking fellow authors to help in the promotion of your book? Forget it. Fellow writers are good for advice, and even assistance in the form of beta readers, but they won't help promote your book. It isn't because of jealousy or even competitiveness. It's because they are busy trying to promote their own books. That is their priority, and that's understandable, but it's still a hard pill to swallow when you are lost in the void of no publicity for your own work.
Such is the case. It's still not impossible. There are several authors who have managed it. And quite successfully, too. They worked hard, but who doesn't. Just have to keep at it, I guess.
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Mostly, for Killer Eyes, it's making sure the 1st person POV is consistent. I'm applying all that into Killer Eyes now, just as I did for KOK. I envision someday, both KOK and Killer Eyes being published together as one book. Or at least in one combined and bound together book, even if, say KOK is "Book One" and then in the same bound book Killer Eyes follows as "Book Two."
And that's because Killer Eyes is not just a sequel, it's really the continuing story of KOK. It's what happens immediately after the events of KOK, much like the events in the three LOTR books, or movies, as they are now.
As for a third Killer book? I've talked about it. It hasn't been written, though. What with these promotional efforts, that might be a while. And for what? My promotional efforts have hardly produced anything. Maybe that radio station, the one who agreed to receive a book, might make something happen. We'll see.
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
So, yeah, that's about a ten per cent response rate, but I would think it sounds about right. I remember emailing agents and publishers, and it was about the same. Sometimes, not even as high as that. But maybe the one positive response will get the ball rolling, so to speak. Only time will tell.
The review requests were for both of my books, Killer of Killers and The Vase, but the radio stations were just for The Vase. That's because of the nature of the book. For Killer of Killers, I should be contacting martial arts studios. I don't think there's any shortage of those. Got to get on it.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Monday, January 27, 2014
Okay, since getting a review seems near impossible, how about just resorting to simple promotions. Well, that will take money, too. Advertising is a major source of income for newspapers, magazines, and other social media. I don't have that kind of money. Since The Vase has religious content in it, maybe some of these religious newspapers or radio shows might be a good way to go. But they don't answer my emails. Well, I didn't offer to pay them, so why should they? They want money, too. Imagine that.
Friday, January 24, 2014
And that's a huge thing. It's a big deal. After all, shoppers shop. And where do they shop? At stores. And if they are shopping for books, they shop at bookstores. Even at Costco, I've seen shoppers stop by the book section and browse, and then buy books that were there for them to browse. That's a major way of selling books. Having them in stores for buyers to buy.
Self-published authors can't do that. And POD publishers, like the ones who published my two books, can't do that, either. Because a POD book has to be paid for to be printed, and that's not how bookstores or other stores operate. Not for books, anyway. And for that reason, the Big Six, and other publishers who aren't POD publishers have an advantage. They get their books into bookstores, and buyers buy their books.
Sure there are online shoppers, but how many of those buyers know about the many online publishers who sell online, as in their own websites, or Amazon, and other online sources. There is limited exposure doing it that way. And that's what it's all about. Exposure. Without exposure, selling will always be an uphill battle. Having your book in a bookstore levels the field.
Thursday, January 23, 2014
I don't doubt for a moment that for an already established author, self-publishing is a better way to go. Publishers will take 90% of the money your book makes. As a self-published author, you'll get 70-90% of the money. And if an author is adept at editing and cover art, he really has no need for a publisher.
But authors who are not established do need publishers. Especially if they are just learning the craft. As I learned. And I wouldn't have learned if it wasn't for having a publisher. Both of my publishers, Melange Books and Penumbra Publishing, have been instrumental in the learning of writing, editing, and publishing books. I'm a much better writer now, having had both of these publishers.
Does that mean I'll want to self-publish from now on? No. Not yet. Even though I have two books published by two different publishers, that doesn't mean I'm an established author. Not until my books actually earn some big money. THEN I'll be considered an established author. And only then might I consider self-publishing. But only then. Fingers crossed that THAT will happen.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
But that doesn't mean it can't succeed. I've heard of books that weren't even published by any publisher, and still they managed to climb up the charts and even make the best seller list. Sure, sometimes it's an already established author who chose to self publish rather than be published by his/her big six publisher. They get a much higher royalty that way, as the big six publishers will get as much as 90% of the profits from their books. So for that reason I don't blame them. Still, the promotional efforts of the big six publishers do warrant that percentage of the profits. After all, 10% of something is better than 50% of next to nothing.
But there are other authors who have self published and went all-out with self promotion, and they've made it work. It was a lot of work, I know, but that's what it takes. As for my books? Let's just say I have to work a lot harder and do a better job at promoting them. I'm still hoping someone will review one of them again. I sure wish I thanked that guy who gave Killer of Killers that great review a year ago. Here's to hoping I'll get a second chance.
Friday, January 17, 2014
I will take my sons to see movies that interest us, and maybe that's the key reason why we don't go see movies much. There really aren't too many movies being made that interest us anymore. For instance, none of these nine nominated movies interest us at all. Nor do any of the other ones out there. They don't interest us one bit. So we don't go see them. It's as simple as that.
Maybe I'm too picky. I like movies like Jason Statham's "Transporter" movies, or Matt Dillon's "Bourne" movies. I liked the Lord of the Rings movies, too. And that's about it. But the movies out now? Especially the ones up for best picture? No interest at all. I guess I'm not too keen on social commentary movies. It seems like a lot of the movies today are of that sort. They are good for some people I guess. Just not me.
Thursday, January 16, 2014
I haven't found that private bookstore owner yet. I tried the other day. But wouldn't you know, the owner has two bookstores, and he goes to the one that's farther away from where I am. Of course. Doesn't mean I can't call him, or just make the trip across town. Just got to find the time to do it. I should have done it weeks ago. Still it's on my agenda. In the meantime, since my stats page indicates that hundreds of people actually visit this blog every month, I would hope that some of these blog readers will buy a copy of one of my books. And if you have, then I thank you. I hope you enjoyed the book. I would bet that you did.
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
But since a Killers Guild is perhaps the main antagonistic presence in the second sequel, which is already written, btw, that's why I'm considering just naming that one The Killers Guild.
But you've got to read Killer of Killers first, anyway, because the second book is really a continuation to that story. It's more like "Part Two" of Killer of Killers more than a sequel. It takes up where Killer of Killers leaves off. Although both stories are complete unto themselves, or stand alone stories. It would be better to read the one after the other though. That would be for optimal enjoyment, that is. So stop wasting time. Buy your copy of Killer of Killers today, so you'll be ready for Killer Eyes. Or The Killers Guild. I better make up my mind. Well, it will be one or the other.
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
I went on to say that I was glad that I wasn't a cop, and I was glad that I had talked my son out of being a cop. It's got to be one of the toughest jobs to be had, and to me, at least, the negatives make it a job that just isn't worth it.
Because once again in the news, there's a story about another cop shooting, and once again, the media is making it sound like it was a bad cop, a tragic shooting, and all the cop's fault. Now, as I said the last time, I wasn't there, and I have no clue as to how it all came down. Maybe it was a bad cop. Maybe both times, it was a bad cop, and it was all the cop's fault. And if you go by the news report, that's exactly how it was in both cases.
But that's the news report. To me, at least, there's another side to the story. The cop's side, and both times, the media gives no hint to that side of the story. It's all about how the cop was quick to take someone's life, as if the cop was actually looking forward to killing someone. Actually hoping to kill someone. As if cops become cops so that they could kill someone. Really, that's just how the news reports make it sound.
I know there are people that want to kill people. Murderers are in no short supply, and that's one of the reasons I wrote Killer of Killers. But I just refuse to believe that murderers are wearing police uniforms. I just don't buy it. Policemen are themselves often targeted by murderers, and it's a situation that is not enviable by any stretch of the imagination. That, plus the fact that society and the media seems quick to take the side of the law-breakers, makes me firm in the belief that being a cop is one of the most difficult jobs out there. Period.
Monday, January 13, 2014
But when it comes to writing, or stories, there is one thing I firmly believe. I don't want to read a book, or watch a show that makes me feel lousy. I don't want to invest my time only to come out of that experience feeling like crap! And some stories have done just that. And I resent it. If an author wants to mimic real life, and chooses to do that by making a story end unhappily, then I don't want to have anything to do with that story.
If it's a true story, and that's just the way it HAS to end, then a GOOD author will write it in a way that the person reading the story, or watching the show will take something good from the ending. Even a sad ending. Sure, tell the story accurately, but the end, even a sad one, does not HAVE to make you feel like crap. If a writer couldn't figure out how to make a sad ending positive SOMEHOW, then, to me, that writer dropped the ball.
Because who wants to feel like crap? I would think no one. We don't spend money on books or on movies to feel like crap. I'm pretty sure about that. Sure some bad things happen in all of my books. But the stories don't END in a bad way. That is to say they don't have sad endings. The readers won't feel like crap at the end. Like in real life bad turns happen. Unfortunate events occur. Like in real life. But I choose to make my stories end in good ways. Ways that make the readers feel good, not only about the characters in the story, but about themselves as well.
And that is the challenge, I think, that authors should meet. Make your readers feel good about themselves, the story, and about life in general. After all, we're all a part of this world. We all have a life to live. So why not live it feeling good? I think we should. And I think I'm right.
Friday, January 10, 2014
It doesn't mean I couldn't find some actors who would be good for it, though. It's just that, like I said, I haven't given it much thought. There are plenty of talented actors, just as with anything, and they are out there. It will give me a good thing to post about some time. So I'll start thinking about it, and I'll look forward to finding them and revealing them on the blog. Stay tuned.
Thursday, January 9, 2014
On my stats page, it reveals that my blog posts about Dustin Clare and Amber Heard seem to draw a lot of hits. Not surprising since both are up and coming movie stars with their careers still ahead of them. Dustin Clare of course had his biggest starring role in the STARZ mini series Spartacus, and Amber Heard, really, hasn't had her big role yet. She's been in a few movies, but really hasn't enjoyed a big part in a major movie or TV show.
But since Amber Heard hasn't had her breakout role yet, wouldn't it be a dream come true if her breakout role came in the movie rendition of Killer of Killers? After all, Samantha Jones is the female lead in that story. And there is at least one sequel soon to come out, and there probably will be a third.
Then there is Dustin Clare who I would choose to play the story's protagonist, Trent Smith, because he, also, would be a perfect choice. He's about the right height, the right weight, the right build, and I think he even has green eyes, as does Trent Smith. And he's already established himself as a great fighter, playing the part of a champion gladiator in Spartacus. So I think he's perfect for the role of Trent Smith. The only thing not perfect is his hair, which is a little too blond. But it's nothing a little hair dye couldn't fix.
But first and foremost, I've got to sell a lot of copies of the book. I doubt any movie makers would bother to make a movie of a book that hardly anyone has heard of. So get the word out. Tell people about Killer of Killers. Help out. With a director like, say, Corey Yuen, and Dustin Clare and Amber Heard in the lead roles, it would be a great movie. But without word of mouth it won't happen. I've only got one mouth. I need a lot more to get the word going. Thanks, in advance.
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
I think I will look into this. I can probably make a better 'trailer' for my books than someone else who never even read them, so I will make that a goal for the new year. But where will I show these trailers? Well, certainly on this blog, and I suppose posting them on YouTube will be another option. I don't know anyone else who might post them on their blogs, so maybe it will be a waste of time, because who will know about them besides the people who read this blog? I would think anyone who's read this blog already knows about my books. The purpose of trailers is to get the word out to people who DON'T know about them.
But that's what I'll do. If nothing else, it will be fun like any of the things I do. Stay tuned.
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
So who knows what the truth is? So far it's only a one-sided story. But I have heard of murders committed by whackos with screwdrivers. Screwdrivers can kill. And it was the family themselves who called the cops in the first place. I cannot make any other comments, since I wasn't there, and I don't know the full story.
But I'll say this: I'm glad I'm not a cop. I actually studied to be a cop when I first started college. After getting a job at the local police department, I quickly changed my mind. There just isn't any "cop" blood in me. I didn't get along with anyone in that police department. Hold on. I'm not saying cops are bad people or anything like that. I figure being a cop is the second most difficult job in the world. (Middle School teachers being first!)
But seriously, when my son told me he was considering being a cop, I told him, "No way!"
Why did I tell him that? For the same reason I told him he shouldn't join the army. No way should he put his life on the line for people who don't appreciate it. And really, it seems that most people don't appreciate it. The story today...and several in the past...indicate that when this kind of thing happens, (someone being killed by cops,) then the world is up in arms against them, calling them all kinds of names. Horrible names. I just can't comment. Because like I said, I wasn't there, and I haven't been there for any of the other similar incidents, either.
I remember when some Oakland cops got killed by some deranged shooter a few years ago, there were people in Oakland who actually paraded in the streets CELEBRATING. To me, that was just despicable. And it's for that reason I'm glad I never became a cop, and would never want my sons to be cops.
Ditto with the military. I remember some horrible comments about the NFL player Pat Tillman who joined the military and was killed in Afghanistan. People were saying crap like it served him right for wanting to "play" armyman. Can you believe that? So no way would I ever risk my life, (or see my sons risk their lives,) for people like that. It's not worth it.
So yeah. I'm glad I'm not a cop. And I'm glad my son is no longer considering it. And the last thing I'll say is that I am one person who DOES appreciate what cops do, and what people in the military do. Make no mistake, I know there's always a bad apple in every barrel. That goes without saying, and it applies to every profession. You don't condemn an entire profession, though, for those few bad apples. Bottom line, anyone who risks their lives for the greater society, like cops and soldiers do, deserves props. But I'm just one person. Sure there's more like me who appreciate them. But the people who don't...there's enough of them to make me shake my head. That's all.
Monday, January 6, 2014
So what to do then? Visit privately owned bookstores, of course. I happen to know of some, but the owners don't usually work on Sunday, so I'll try to get a hold of them this week. Hopefully, they won't mind buying a couple or three of each of my published books, and stocking them on their shelves, and then, once they sell them, they order three or four more. And so on.
I believe that the covers alone might stir some interest and prompt some sales. At least for Killer of Killers. And the subject matter of The Vase should spark some interest and prompt some sales, too. I mean a lot of people are interested in Israel and the happenings over there. So I think once the owner is convinced to stock the books, things will get rolling for both books.
But the catch is, will the owners stock them? I'll find out as soon as I talk to my local privately owned bookstore owner. But I can't do that until Tuesday. So Tuesday will be a big day for me, and I'll post on Wednesday just how that went.
Friday, January 3, 2014
I wish there were writing contests for martial arts books. Just like there seems to be contests for other types of books. If there were, then I would think KOK would be good enough to place somewhere in the finalists for that category. Maybe I should be looking for contests as well as for bookstores. I think it's a good idea, actually. Time to get started then.
Thursday, January 2, 2014
I guess they are blog-hoppers. There are sites that enable people to do that. I wish they were book readers, too. If those kind of numbers translated into buyers of the books that I promote on this blog, that would be great. But they don't. Not that I can figure anyway. If they did, I wouldn't be so bent on promoting the books.
Put it this way. If you're reading this blog, and you like books, BUY A COPY of Killer of Killers or The Vase. I would appreciate it. But again, that's if you like books. That's if you like a great story. That's if you have some money. LOL. I figure if you've got the money to buy a computer, no matter what country you're in, then you have enough money to buy a book. There's no doubting that. So take advantage of this opportunity. All you have to do is click on the images to the right of this post. Once you do that, you can choose a print book or an eBook. And thanks.
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
So, yeah, 2013 was a good year indeed. I hope 2014 will be even better. I expect to get the sequel to Killer of Killers published this year, and the only thing that might make it better is if my sales perk up. But that depends on the people who read this blog. Buy a copy! You'll like the story, the plot, the characters, the action, the suspense. Let me know what you think! And thanks in advance.