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, January 31, 2014

On An Island when it comes to Promotion

I'm not new to writing and the publishing world anymore. And I've learned quite a bit over the last five years. Mostly, the publishing world is not unlike any other kind of business or performance type endeavors. That is there is no shortage of great writers, just as there is no shortage of great artists, great athletes, great actors, and great musicians. It's a very competitive field, as are all other fields.

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.

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