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, February 28, 2014

Killer of Killers hero doesn't use guns

Guns. Who needs them? People who want (or people who might need) to kill, obviously. Trent Smith, the main character in Killer of Killers, wants to kill. He wants to kill killers, though. Only killers, be clear about that. (Thus the title of the book!) But Trent Smith does not believe in using guns. In fact, there is a point in the story where he makes the comment, "Guns and knives...weapons of cowards."

To Trent, using a gun is the method of a coward. Knives, too. It doesn't mean Trent wasn't trained in using weapons. He is considered an expert with several weapons, actually. But his preference, and his specialty, is empty hands, and that point is also made clear when his antagonists do some research on him. You see, Trent Smith, (not his real name, btw,) is a master sensei, a tenth degree black belt in Ju Jitsu. And master senseis who are tenth degree black belts in Ju Jitsu are also known as Judan.

It takes a special person to become a Judan. It takes decades of constant training, commitment and dedication to the art. Look at it this way. For every 100 black belts in Karate, there is only 1 black belt in Ju Jitsu.

So the top ranking black belts, the tenth degree black belts, the Judan, which Trent Smith is, are very rare. Very rare, indeed. And when you combine that with the Japanese art of combat and killing--Budo--then you have a very lethal fighter who doesn't need guns or knives. All he needs, and all Trent uses, are his bare hands. And with his bare hands, he can kill quickly, meaning he can deliver an instant death, or he can kill slowly, meaning he can deliver a painstaking, torturous death.

Being a master of Budo Ju Jitsu, also means that Trent can deliver a death a year later from when he delivers a Budo strike. Or two years later. He can also blind you, put you in a coma, give you cancer, and cause a wide variety of other ill results. He can also reverse the effects. All Budo masters are trained to cure whatever ill effects they caused. It's not fiction. It's all in the art. But you have to be a master. And Trent Smith is the best. He is the greatest martial artist in the world. Period. See for yourself. Buy your copy today!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Marketing/Promotion Must be a Priority

Talking about the competition that involves publishers and books these days, really brings home the importance of marketing and/or promotion. There are hundreds of publishers nowadays. Maybe thousands. And there are literally millions of books. The strange thing is, and I've heard this talked about, and joked about, and it seems to be true that there are more writers than there are readers!

From  my experience, I think that all these writers do not read. At least, they are not interested in reading anyone else's book. I'm guilty of that, so I'm not complaining. But the point is that the majority of people who are writers are competing with each other for the minority of people who are readers. That is to say that the writers are in a competition to have their books read by the fewer people out there who actually buy and read the books.

And that is why promotion or marketing your book is a number one priority. You might think that just writing the book is the priority. Writing a good book. A great book. And it's arguable, at least, that it is, but what good is a book, even a great book, that no one reads? And how can anyone read it if they don't know about it.

The best way to promote your book is to have it in bookstores. That's what the people at Absolute Write will say. And I don't doubt that it's true. But POD publishers can't do that, for the reasons I've already posted in earlier posts on this blog. Word of mouth is a way for it to happen, but if no one knows about your book, then no mouths will be spreading any words.

Some self published authors, those people who didn't even get a small POD publisher to publish their books, have found success through word of mouth. But from what I've read, they didn't just sit back and wait for that to happen. They got out there and made it  happen. Kudos to them. I'm trying to do that. It's not easy. Just have to keep trying. You don't sit back and wait. That's what I'm sure of. Nothing will happen if that's your plan.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Books Even More Competitive

Talking about the competitive nature that Publishing has become, books are even more competitive. It's really the same thing, but being more specific, books do compete with each other, even on the same publisher's list. Sure, buyers or readers have hundreds of different online publishers these days from which they can choose their reading material. But some of those publishers have hundreds, even thousands of books on their lists. I would say that is competition, too.

Some publishers seem to publish as many books as they can, within a certain guideline of what they deem worthy, of course. Other publishers are more picky. I've seen publishing websites with thousands of books listed, and I've seen others with as few as two. Okay that's probably because they are new, and just getting started at it. But there are publishers who limit the number of books they publish to two or three books a month, whereas other publishers will publish over a dozen per month.

My publishers, Melange (Killer of Killers) and Penumbra (The Vase) are on opposite ends of that description of publishers. It is not unusual for Melange to publish a dozen books in one month, although that number does vary. Sometimes they publish fewer, and sometimes even more.

But Penumbra will only publish two or three books in one month. So there is the difference. It was true that in my own personal experience, Penumbra was far more picky, and more strict in their editing guidelines than Melange. I am NOT saying that Melange doesn't have high standards, they certainly do, but Melange was more relaxed in giving their authors freedom in how they want to write. I mean, if an author wants to write a certain way, Melange will let them. But Penumbra won't. If an author disagrees with a Penumbra editor, then heads will clash.

I, personally, did not disagree with my Penumbra editors, by the way. Every time my Penumbra editor wanted me to change something, I did, except for a couple times when I explained exactly why it had to be a certain way, and because my explanation was clear and logical, then the Penumbra editor relented. So, yeah, they are reasonable about that, which was good, even while they were strict.

But that makes a book better. It makes writing better. It's great to have two publishers, one that allows more freedom, and another who sticks strictly by a certain guideline. For the Killer of Killers sequel, Killer Eyes, I will certainly go with Melange again. As for my John Dunn novel, I don't know yet. Maybe I'll try for a third publisher. Why not? It's cool being published by two different publishers. It would be cooler to have three. Maybe this time it can be one of the Big Six. We'll see.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Publishing--a Competitive World

It used to be just a few publishing houses published books and/or novels. You know, the Big Six as they're referred to today. But once the computer age kicked in about twenty years ago or so, which ushered in the digital age--there have been new publishing houses springing into existence every year. And today, there must be hundreds of publishers striving to make a business in publishing books and/or novels.

It's the POD formula. Print On Demand. That means you find a book, online, that you like, and order it, online, and then it gets printed and sent to you. Or. You find a book, online, that you like, and order it, online, and in seconds a digital copy of the book is made available for you to download into your digital device, whether that's an eBook reader, like Kindle, Nook, or the Sony readers, or your computer, your laptop or your iPhone or iPad.

And it's the POD technology that has made it possible for so many of these 'new' publishers to exist. The Big Six would print out a thousand books or so, send them to bookstores, and that's how they sold them. But the risk was maybe not all of that first run of printed books would sell. And if they didn't, the bookstores could send the books back, and it was all on the publisher.

So it seems that the POD way is the better way for publishers. No risk. No money spent to print books before they're paid for. The publisher gets paid first, then they print the book. Sounds good, but for one problem. SHOPPERS. Sure you can shop online, and sure you can order online, but the transition to the digital world is not complete at this time. Shoppers actually still like to shop in STORES.  And POD publishers cannot get their books into stores. Real stores, that is.

Nevertheless, POD publishers are springing into existence by the dozens, it seems, every year. That's great for writers, authors, and even book readers. But with so many publishers out there now, the competition is very high. With so many new publishers around, and so many new books, just how do these hundreds of publishers promote their thousands of books? They don't really, not beyond some publishing conventions and the like.

I mean, take my two publishers, Melange Books and Penumbra Publishing. They are both good publishers, meaning they have good books on their published list, they have good writers who can write well and have great stories. But who knows about them, beyond the authors who have published with them? People who go to bookstores will not know about them, because their books aren't on the bookstore shelves. Sure, the authors themselves can promote their books, but an author's field of exposure is limited to the immediate people around him, like family, friends, and coworkers. And, as I've learned, these are the people who expect to get your book for free!

It's the general public who will pay for your  book. The general public who make books "best sellers." It's in a bookstore, where hundreds of new people every week will see new books on the shelves, pick them up, and learn about them, and many will buy them, based on the interest that "seeing" them stirs up. That's the traditional way of having it happen.

But the digital age is here, even if it is still in the transitional phase. I wonder just how long it will take for real stores to go the way of the dinosaur. How long will it take for all shopping to be done online. Whether it is clothes, hardware, books, and even groceries. It will happen. Probably not in my lifetime. But I don't doubt it will happen soon, thereafter.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Story Lines--Please, no stupid stuff--The Walking Dead

After watching The Walking Dead last night, I found myself shaking my head because some stupid stuff happened. I'm referring to the part when the supposed scientist picked up a gun to shoot approaching zombies, but instead, he shot up the truck he had been driving in. And because he put several bullet holes in the truck's fuel compartment, causing it to leak out all its gas, it was, imo, very stupid, not only for the guy to do that, but in the writing itself.

First thing about it I thought was stupid--when the zombies were coming, his tough guy military partner was too busy trying to beat up a little Asian guy, after trying to convince the guy to join him in his quest to "save the world."

Second thing, instead of running to where his military partner was, he picks up a machine gun.

Third thing, he does a 360 degree rotation while pulling the trigger, shooting his truck, which was BEHIND him, instead of shooting the zombies, which were IN FRONT of him.

Now, if the story line needed the truck to be disabled, then some better writing could have come up with a better way to make that happen. Because stupid writing, making characters look stupid, just doesn't fly with me. I don't know what the writers in this case were trying to convey about this stupid act on the part of a man who later says, "Trust me, I'm smarter than you." to his military cohort.

Really. You're "smarter" after you just shot up a truck behind you instead of the targets in front of you. No, this writing, at least in that part of the show was plain dumb. And things like that can ruin what otherwise is a great story. I hope there is no more of it.

And another thing--the scientist guy doesn't look much like a scientist at all. He's a young guy, maybe 30ish, with a stupid looking mullet for a hair do, and he's wearing short pants, like that guitar player dude in the AC/DC band, making him look like a dorky adolescent. I suppose a scientist can have stereotypical traits. I can buy that. After all, even in my own book, Killer of Killers, a scientist named Jason Benson is dorky looking. But the mullet on the guy in The Walking Dead? Whatever.

I still like the show. And I'm liking the new STARZ show, BLACK SAILS, too. It's a pirate show, but with a different flavor to it than, say, the Pirates of the Carribean movies. I like the captains, Captain Flint and Captain Vane. And I like the casting of the actors portraying them. More about that later.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Fast-Action-Packed-Martial Arts-Romance

I titled this post Fast-Action-Packed-Martial Arts-Romance because that is how I would categorize my book Killer of Killers. Some people have told me the cover makes it look like a horror story. It is not a horror story. That doesn't mean that if you like horror stories you won't like it. You still will like it. Maybe even love it. There are no monsters or vampires or zombies or werewolves in it. There are no psychopathic murderers or serial killers in it. It is not a horror story. It is a fast, action-packed martial arts story, with a touch of romance, too.

Oh, but it does have killers in it. And it's main character is disgusted with them. So much so, that he decides that these murderers, most of them multiple murderers, deserve to be killed. He wasn't always like that. He lived an idyllic life in Japan, a country nearly free of murderers.

But America, his homeland, isn't free of murderers. And guess what? That is a reality. I didn't make that  up. America is indeed not free of murderers. In fact, every day you can read the news and learn about murderers in just about every city in America. Murderers who kill innocent school children waiting at bus stops to go to school. Murderers who rape, torture and brutally kill innocent girls who never did anything to them. Innocent people who might just be jogging on the street, and then someone drives up behind them and shoots them in the back.

Yes, America, in reality has uncounted murderers murdering every day. And almost all of them don't even have to pay the price. They just sit in a jail cell for literally dozens of years, with no repercussions to their crime. Many are even let out of jail to murder again. This is not a book, this is reality. This is the country in which I live. This is America.

But Killer of Killers is fiction. It is not based on a true story. It is one man's belief that murderers deserve to die. And being the world's greatest martial artist, he has the ability to do it. He doesn't use guns. He doesn't use knives. To him, guns and knives are weapons of cowards. He faces off with these mad dog killers with his bare hands.

Buy your copy of Killer of Killers today. See how one man can make a difference in the lives of killers who deserve to get what they gave!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Do Reviews Really Boost Sales?

So much has been discussed about reviews by different authors in different blogs and articles, but do reviews really boost sales? I suppose they might. But at the same time I have also read that people don't pay attention to reviews. They say that they know that reviews are bogus. They say the multiple great, five star reviews that seem to flood Amazon and Goodreads are either written by the author's friends and family, or were paid for by the author. Thus, they are bogus reviews.

So who else will write a review then? A stranger with nothing to gain? Friends and relatives want their friend or relative to be happy and/or find success, right? So they have a reason to review their friend's book, or their family member's book. And paid reviewers have a reason, too. They make money! They get paid to review the books they review. But they won't stay in business if they give bad reviews.

So it's true! Reviews of those kinds are indeed bogus reviews. And I would guess that those kinds of reviews make up the majority of all reviews. To date, no friend or family member has reviewed any of my books. Not a one. And that's a good thing. No bogus reviews are happening for me, and I'm glad for that. But there are no reviews at all for my books. Is that a bad thing, then?

Once, over a year ago, someone posted a review about Killer of Killers on Goodreads. It was a super review, too, and from a complete stranger. I didn't know the guy from Adam! So that was no bogus review. But did it boost my sales? I don't think so. Of course, the guy took down his review shortly thereafter. I can only conclude that because I didn't thank him, or post a similar review about his book, he got mad and took it back.

But I didn't know that guy, really! I didn't even know he was a writer. I found out later he had a book out, but before I had a clue, his review of my book had disappeared. But again, did it matter? I can't imagine that it did. Sales for Killer of Killers is slow, to be sure, but the trickling sales do mount on Amazon, but they have to stay consistent.

My request, then, will be as it was yesterday. If you are reading this blog, please buy a copy of Killer of Killers by clicking on the image to the right of this post. I don't doubt you will enjoy the story, and that will be that. No reviews necessary. After all, that will take time and effort. And a reviewer would have to be someone who is a good writer him/herself. It wouldn't look too good if a reviewer wrote with bad grammar, poor spelling, and lousy reasoning in a review, whether a good or bad review.

So the bottom line is sales, not reviews. Buy your copy TODAY!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Killer of Killers Needs Buyers!

The Amazon rankings for Killer of Killers are slipping back down, from a high of 200 something thousand, to 600 something thousand right now, which means the sales have either slowed or stopped. But my stats page indicates that the number of readers of this blog, or at least the number of visitors to the blog are still up.

My request: If you are visiting this blog, at least consider buying a copy of Killer of Killers. What seems to draw visitors here are my posts about Dustin Clare, and even more, my posts about Amber Heard. I don't blame people for that. Both of these actors are super actors, and Amber, imo, is the most beautiful woman in the world, so we have some common beliefs there.

And that is a good reason to buy Killer of Killers. If you agree with me about Dustin Clare and Amber Heard, then you'll likely agree with me that Killer of Killers is a great story! And it's not expensive, either. You can buy a digital copy or an Amazon Kindle copy for only 5.99,  and print copies can be had for as little as 12.90 over there at Amazon. (Or 14.95 on the Melange website.)

Of course, you'll want to do that if you like to read books. So if you do, don't lag on me, and don't lag on yourself. You will enjoy the action, the characters, even the romance that takes place, and the plot, too. The story line is something you will enjoy. How can you not be interested in a story that involves the world's greatest martial artist?

Help make KOK popular. Buy your copy today. And thank you.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Dustin Clare--well...

Dustin Clare from Spartacus
On Monday I posted how Amber Heard's star is rising, with new roles in new movies, a marriage engagement with one of Hollywood's biggest stars, and so on...

And that's all and good for the actress I've pegged for the lead female role in my book Killer of Killers. But what about the actor I envisioned for the lead male character, the martial arts champion Trent Smith?

I had thought that Dustin Clare of Spartacus fame would be a great actor for the role. After all, in Spartacus he was a champion gladiator. Not that far of a reach then for the part of a martial arts champion. But unlike Amber Heard, well, his star seems to be idling.

I mean since Spartacus, he's only been cast in one movie, called Sunday, yet to be released, and even if it is released I doubt I'll be seeing it. That's because it's a Romantic Comedy, and I was just recently talking about my dislike of that genre. He's even listed as one of the co-writers.

Well, the man's got to earn a living, surely, and those types of movies are popular...WITH WOMEN. And since I'm not a woman, I believe I won't be watching it. No thanks.

This is interesting, though. Amber Heard is starring in the movies that seem to be right up the alley of a story like Killer of Killers. I mean check it out. Amber Heard's movies have names like Machete Kills and 3 Days to Kill. So Amber Heard is the right actress for Killer of Killers all right.

Again, Dustin Clare has got to do what he's got to do. But I'm surprised Hollywood seems to be overlooking him, since he was nothing short of terrific in Spartacus.

But just like I noted that Amber Heard still needs the definitive role to establish her as an A-lister, apparently, so does Dustin Clare. Oh, if only some Hollywood producer type guy would read Killer of Killers, love it, and then want to film it. Then maybe both actors can finally have their definitive leading roles. In an action movie, I mean.

In the meantime, I do hope Sunday is a big hit for Dustin's sake, and I hope he gets more parts, but hopefully those parts will be in movies that will make him an action hero like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, and Jason Statham. Those are the kinds of actors who would be suitable for a story like Killer of Killers. But none of them would be right for the part of Trent Smith.

Dustin Clare, I think would be right for the part of Trent Smith, and he proved he can do it in Spartacus. So here's to hoping Killer of Killers gets made into a movie, and Dustin gets the lead role. But that will take sales of the book to get it noticed. For that I need you, the readers of this blog to buy copies. Let's make it happen. Click on the images to the right, or go to Amazon.com, and buy your copy of Killer of Killers today!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Amazon Rankings up and down for Killer of Killers

After a steady slide down the Amazon Kindle rankings, Killer of Killers made a big jump. From like 1,700,000 to 200,000 in one day. I don't know if a single Kindle purchase made that happen or if several purchases were suddenly made.

I had noticed it sliding down as the days went by, so when I noticed the 1 million, 500,000 jump up the rankings, I was pleasantly surprised. Of course, over the last few days it's been falling again, and now it's in the 500,000 range. I suppose in order to hold its position in the rankings, it has to be steadily selling every single day.

It's tough for my books, since no book store will stock them due to the POD format in which they are published, and my efforts to find buyers and/or reviewers has been mostly unsuccessful. It depends, I think, on readers of this blog. If even half of the people who visit this blog were to buy a copy of one or both of my books, then they would be doing very well indeed, because my stats page indicates that hundreds of people visit the blog on a monthly basis.

So if you happen to be reading the blog, and you like to read exciting, adventurous, and action-filled books, help out, click on one of the images to the right and buy a copy, or go to Amazon.com and buy a copy there. I dare say you'll be glad you did.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Amber Heard Moving Up

Amber Heard
I've mentioned Amber Heard a few times, mostly saying that she would be the perfect actress for the role of the beautiful blond police detective in my novel, Killer of Killers. I hadn't even seen any of her movies until I saw one not long ago where she co-starred with Nicholas Cage in a movie that I can't even remember the name. But she's finally in more movies, although I still haven't seen them yet. I hope to see Machete Kills, not because I want to see Danny Trejo, but because I'm curious to see how Amber Heard performs as an actress, and the same thing with the soon to be released movie, 3 Days to Kill, where she co-stars with Kevin Costner.

And on top of all that, she's now engaged, I hear, to marry 50 year-old Johnny Depp. Amber is only in her mid twenties, but Johnny Depp is an A-lister, as are Nick Cage and Kevin Costner, so, yeah, I'd say her star is rising. All she needs is the definitive role to define her career, and my debut novel, Killer of Killers could provide that. After all, the role of Samantha Jones could be perfect for her. Samantha Jones, in Killer of Killers, is a smart police detective. She is drop dead gorgeous, sure, but who says a beautiful woman can't also be intelligent, assertive, and self-sufficient? I say a woman can be all of those things.

Hollywood's Most Beautiful Woman
Amber Heard
I hear so many times from other women, that when a woman is over the top beautiful, then that means she must also be dumb, stupid, man-crazy, a slut, trash, and whatever else their jealous minds can think of. I ask why? Well, I already said it. They're jealous. It's like plain looking women can't stand that a beautiful woman could be just as smart, or even smarter than they are! Of course, I know not ALL women think like that, but I've met many who do.

But I digress. Samantha Jones in Killer of Killers, (not to be confused with the sex-crazed Samantha Jones in Sex and the City,) but Samantha Jones in Killer of Killers is NOT preoccupied with sex, with men, with things frivolous and unimportant. She is smart, assertive, and very capable.

And Amber Heard appears to me, at least, to have the ability to demonstrate those qualities in a movie, although as I admitted, I haven't seen them yet. In that Nick Cage movie, I don't think she had the opportunity. It was more like a grade B movie with bad directing, and a poor plot. But that doesn't mean she can't do it. I look forward to finally seeing some of her other roles soon. And it would be a dream come true if one of those other roles was that of Samantha Jones in Killer of Killers!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day

Romance, as I was saying yesterday, is a fundamental part of a story, because it is a fundamental part of life. It makes a story interesting, and there is an entire genre of books and movies dedicated to Romance, into and unto itself.

But to me, if a story is only based on romance, then, well, how boring is that? Pretty boring if that is all there is to it. Nevertheless, there must be plenty of people who do buy in to that, since the genres of Romance in books and movies are going strong.

But I say there is more to life, and to stories than romance. I mean, really, a story only about romance? Sheesh, I would think that would get old pretty fast. There is so much more to a story than who gets to fall in love with whom, and who's jealous about whom, and who breaks up with whom. Come on.

No, I've never read a romance book, but I've seen some of the movies. Definitely not for me. I like action, drama, grit, adventure, yes, even violence, if appropriate to the story line and plot, and death, again if appropriate to the story line and plot.

Of course, I'm not talking about stories for kids. They don't need to see that, even though they see it on their video games every day. I like stories for adults, and those are the stories I write. Killer of Killers and The Vase, and soon, Killer Eyes are about adults, for adults, with action, adventure, violence, death, and yes, even ROMANCE. They are the complete packages of everything you'd want in a story.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Romance Necessary?

In all of my books, there is an element of romance. Since tomorrow is Valentine's Day, it made me wonder if romance is really necessary in a story. I think it depends on the story, the characters involved in the story, and the circumstances. After all, doesn't romance depend on those things in real life? I believe it does. Because romance is part of life. It's part of living. And whenever you have people doing things around other people, especially members of the opposite genders, then romance is bound to happen. It's normal, natural, and inevitable.

In Killer of Killers, the MC, Trent Smith, is not looking for romance. He's looking for vengeance. Not for himself, but for the increasing number of innocents that have been slain with no justice being administered to the murderers. It affects him, even across the world, as he lives and trains in Japan. He returns to America, the land of his birth, and he figures to make it right. But he's single, still young, and romance happens. And then tragedy happens. Because unforeseen tragedies are also part of life. It happens. And Trent Smith is forced to deal with it on his journey of vengeance. He feels guilty about it, because it could be true that he brought it on himself.

But that's reality. Everything we do has innumerable consequences, and when you go the road of violence, as Trent does, violence is bound to follow you, and violence gets people killed. There's a lesson in there somewhere, I think. Does Trent ever learn it? You'll have to buy your copy of Killer of Killers to find out.

In The Vase, there is romance, too. The MC is a married Palestinian potter whose wife left him, but she comes back to him and their romance is renewed. But it's a rocky romance, particularly since they had lost a teenaged son to the violence over there, and they're trying their best to make sure their other teenaged son steers clear of it.

And then there are the Israeli characters defending themselves, (as they see it,) from the violence that has fallen upon them, and romance ensues with them, also. It's a complicated arrangement, since the IDF, (the Israeli Defense Force,) is full of young and single people. Their dedication to the preservation of Israel is their common priority, but romance has it's way of surviving even the toughest of times. Can't give away too much here. You'll have to buy your copy of The Vase to learn more, (although the blurb underneath my blog's header reveals some of the details.)

So what are you waiting for? Click on the links to the right of this post and buy one or both books today!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Death? It's Final! Period!

Death is probably one of the most tragic occurrences in a story, I would think. I suppose there are worse things than death. At least I've heard that. It's probably true. But the finality of death is something that just can't be negotiated. That's the reality. It's one reason why I don't buy into the notion of coming back from the dead. Like vampires and zombies do, and other supernatural type stories. I don't like those kind of stories. I don't mind a vampire movie or TV show once in a while, but ever since Twilight, it seems vampire stories are flooding the book, TV, and movie world.

To me, vampire stories are bogus. As for zombies, well, they don't really come back from the dead. They are still dead. And with the popularity of The Walking Dead shows, it seems that lately zombies are flooding the book and movie world, too.

But it's too much. Way too much. I guess whatever sells is the bottom line, but I can't take too much fantasy stuff like that. In my books, people die, and they stay dead. That's the reality of it, and I prefer to keep my stories based in reality. Sure, in my books I have a little touch of fantasy, like the wonder drug in Killer of Killers, and a possible paranormal element in The Vase. (Mind you, I said POSSIBLE.) But mostly both of my books are based in reality. And that's what I prefer.

And in both books, the death that occurs is essential to the story. It moves the plot. It can't be avoided. I don't have killing just for the sake of killing. Take KOK, for instance. In the real world, there are murderers. It's sad, unfortunate, and tragic, but true. And in the real world, it seems that many of these murderers get off the hook. They get away with it. That's what drives the plot in KOK. But it's based in reality. So is the need for vengeance, as Trent Smith, the main character, believes.

In The Vase, you have terrorists. And in the real world there are terrorists. And terrorists kill in the real world. And in the real world you have people fighting back. It's real. In the real world, people kill terrorists. It happens in The Vase, too. And every time it happens, it's not for sensationalism. It's an essential part of the story. It moves the plot.

No I don't agree with sensationalism, and I don't agree with glorification. And that is why I don't glorify violence, nor do I glorify death. It's just something that happens. In the real world, and in the stories I write. And in both cases, it's tragic, it's unfortunate, and it's FINAL.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Third Person Limited POV--5 rules or guidelines

Now that I'm back to revising Killer Eyes, the sequel to Killer of Killers, I find myself mostly just reinforcing the 3rd person POV rules, which are as follows:

1-Each scene should be narrated from only one person's perspective--your POV character. Do not divulge anything that your POV character would not know. That means no "head-hopping," meaning the POV character would not know what another character is thinking, so don't reveal what another character is thinking. It's okay to say seemingly or apparently when referring to another character, however. For example: "The stranger was apparently displeased with the comment." Or: "The stranger seemed unhappy when he arrived."

2-When changing POV characters, use a scene break. Usually that means three, four or even five asterisks on a separate line between scenes.

3-When referring to your POV character, (in 3rd person limited,) use that character's first name, as that character would not be calling him/herself Mr. so and so, or Ms. so and so, nor would a character typically refer to him/herself by his or her last name. Nor would the POV character refer to him/herself as "the American" or "the doctor" etc.

4-Refer to non-POV characters by how your POV character would refer to them. If, for example, the non-POV character is the father of the POV character, then it would be "his father" and not the first or last name of the father, unless it had been established that the POV character does indeed call his father by his first name.

5-Take care to be consistent. If your POV character, for example, is a humble person, then don't write a narrative that would hint otherwise. For example, you wouldn't write, "Henry was not going to let his talented hands get dirty if he could help it." Meaning if Henry is a humble person, then simply leave out the word "talented." 

The interesting thing to me is that this 3rd person limited POV is relatively a new thing. I've read books that have been published prior to, say, the year 2000, and I find all kinds of POV inconsistencies. Most of the books I've read, (or all of them, actually,) have been books published prior to 2000, and I was used to those inconsistencies. But as a writer, now, I have to go with what is accepted in the writing styles of today. And I've learned that this 3rd person limited POV is the expected way to write. So go with the  flow, if you will. To be considered a good writer today, you have to conform. And besides, I've found that it really does improve your writing. And what writer wouldn't want that?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Film Agents, anyone?

With sales picking up for Killer of Killers and The Vase, I was thinking about finding a film agent. Only problem is, I'm not sure how to go about that. It seems that film agents aren't so numerous as book agents. If you google literary agents, a slew of them come up. If you google film agents, not so. You get a different kind of result, and it's not a list of agents.

I've talked a lot about how KOK would be great as a movie, but of course, every author probably thinks their book would be great as a movie, so I'm probably just another one in a countless list of writers believing it. Still, martial arts action movies have always been popular. And they are just as popular now as ever. Probably will continue to be. The story line to KOK is intriguing, and the characters just as interesting as any I've ever seen in any movie.

But again, I have to believe all authors feel that way about their books. A film maker will have to believe it. Then it can happen. But that's where the film agent comes in. It would be his/.her job to convince a film maker that KOK is the story they want. First, gotta find one.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Now a Newspaper Requested a Free Book!

Now a newspaper has agreed to receive a free copy of The Vase, which is a good thing, btw. I had posted on Wednesday that of all the newspapers and radio stations that I had contacted, only one radio station agreed to receive a free book, but yesterday a newspaper responded, and they too agreed to receive a free book. Of course, this is in hope that they will give a positive review of the book in their newspaper, (or in the radio station's case, on the air.)

And that's got to be some of the best ways to promote anything. Radio and newspapers. The only thing better, I think would be TV, but that's out of the question. That would take big money, and I don't even have the money to spend on reviewers who want to be paid for their reviews. But that's more of an ethical thing, really. Because even if I did have the money for that, I still wouldn't do it. Being paid to review? Only professional reviewers should be paid, and that's only if they are people like those guys on TV who used to review movies.

Anyway, I'll take a spot on a radio show or an article in a newspaper any day. Here's to hoping the reviews happen, because it's understood that giving a free book doesn't guarantee a review. Nor does it guarantee that if the review happens it will be a good review. A lot of variables are in the mix. Fingers crossed that they all pan out.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Back to Work on Killer Eyes

Finally got back to work on the sequel to Killer of Killers, and I think it's working out. At first it seemed that I would have to make a lot of changes, but it's not as bad as I thought. The amount of changes that is. I did make some rearrangements more than anything. I relocated some passages, and made some chapters in the beginning longer, but that's because I combined some chapters. The Prologue is shorter now, but chapters one and two are longer.

The biggest thing now that I'll be working on is the POV 3rd person limited thing. I have to make sure that whoever has the POV in any particular scene the narrative refers to that person by their first name, and proceed from their perspective only. That means you don't reveal anything from anyone else's  perspective, at least not until you change scenes, and change perspectives. That's my major focus on this current pass. Hopefully, it won't take as many passes as KOK did. But we'll see. It will take as many as it takes. That's all.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

One Radio Station Has a Free Book

I've lost count of how many newspapers and radio stations I have contacted via email offering a free book. For the most part, they don't reply. But one radio station actually did reply, saying that they would be glad to have a free book. It happened to be Immaculate Heart Radio. I'd never heard of them before, I found them through a Google search,  but they are a Catholic Radio Station, and since the Pope is featured in The Vase, I thought they might be interested in this story. Apparently, they were.

So, as the only radio station to take the book, which I mailed to them last week, here's to hoping someone over there has time to read it, and then actually likes the story, and will say something about it to their radio audience. That's what I'm trying to get to happen, anyway. It's all about promotion. Advertising. Commercials. Get the word out. Maybe word of mouth will get going after that. We'll see. Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Free Books?

Talking about friends and family yesterday and why I wouldn't want reviews from them made me think about the free books that I'm supposed to be giving to reviewers. But instead of giving free books to potential reviewers, I've found myself giving them to friends and family.

That's not how it's supposed to work! But it seems to be the rule that friends and family EXPECT free copies of your books. It's like they have the attitude that, "Well, you're my friend, (or relative) so that means you should give me a free copy of your book!" Or..."Why should I pay for a book you wrote when you are my friend, (or relative?)"

My brother, thankfully, is an exception to that rule. He has bought two copies of each of my books that have been published, so that is appreciated, and I look forward to buying his book when it's published. (He's writing a fantasy novel, and it's very good, which, as a beta reader, I have had the opportunity to learn first hand.)

But just about every other relative (and friend) has expressed the expectation that they should receive a free book. And it's not as if I get them for free myself, mind you. I don't! Yet, the books that I did get, (at a discount from the retail price, admittedly, but still not free,) were supposed to be for reviewers.

And how has it turned out? Not one reviewer has received a book. But several friends and relatives have received free books, and as I've made clear, these are not the people I want reviews from. Even though undoubtedly, most if not all other authors are indeed getting their rave reviews from friends and family. I think it's unethical to a degree, but I don't really blame them. Not after what I've learned. That is, unless you're a known author, it's the only way you'll get those reviews!

Oh well.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Don't Want Reviews from Friends/Family

I have no doubt that many authors welcome reviews from their friends and from their family members. No doubt that these reviews will be rave reviews. And that's what authors want--rave reviews. But when it's from your mother? Your brother? Even your cousins? Your friends? To me, that's only one step above that of getting reviews from paid reviewers. You know--those people who make a living by getting paid to give authors a rave review. In other words, these are not honest reviews. They are dishonest reviews. To me, a review should be from someone who you DON'T know, someone who read the book and then gives a review based on his or her honest and unbiased opinion of it.

That's not to say that all reviewers can do that. Many reviewers revel in bashing others, especially authors. They seem to have a perverted pleasure in hurting someone by giving a brutal, and often dishonest review, even though they don't even know that person.

So it's a cruel world. But it's the world in which we live, isn't it? It is. If you're creative, you have to put it out there, however, and what other choice do you have? Do nothing? Many people choose that option. They do nothing. Nothing creative, that is. And for those of us who choose to create? It's a risk. Some will like what we do, and others won't, and it's up to them to express those feelings, but there is also the dishonest out there. Some are paid to rave, and some just have a twisted pleasure to hurt. As for the latter, I would consider them to be the cruel element of society. But they exist. Unfortunately.