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, 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.

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