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.



Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Contrast in Storytelling Styles

When it comes to telling a story, be it in a movie or book, or even a TV show, there are certainly many different styles of storytelling. Much like there are different styles of art and music. Different people like different styles. And different artists use different styles, and some styles actually define the artist.

I spent most of my life creating art, like drawings, paintings, and sculptures. My style was realistic, so I guess I might have been placed under the classical or traditional style, and my paintings might be called fantasy art. The music I wrote was pretty varied, though. I wrote some easy stuff, but also some hard rock songs. In fact, some fellow musicians thought my music was too hard rock for them. But they only heard a few, which didn't even scratch the surface of the entirety of my work.

When it comes to storytelling, a separate art unto itself, I think I'm pretty straightforward. With two published books under my belt, I've found more success in writing books than in writing music, but I don't think it's easier. Both are fun, and both are rewarding. And both are competitive.

When it comes to being a fan of the stories of other writers, I would have to confine my opinions to movies or TV shows, since I would not consider myself a wide spread reader. My reading pretty much is confined to Edgar Rice Burroughs, H. G. Wells, and Robert E. Howard. I don't think I've read any books that have been written in the 21st Century. Oh, I've started to read some. But I never could find myself interested enough to finish. In fact, I don't think I've ever made it past the first couple of pages of any books written in the last thirty years!

But I've seen a lot of movies. Mostly I like action movies. Like the Transporter moives, or the Bourne movies. Those stories were exciting, filled with entertaining action, and were thrilling to watch. That's why I wrote Killer of Killers. I think Killer of Killers would fit into the Transporter and Bourne categories. But with more of a focus on the martial arts element. So that might mean mix in a little Bruce Lee type stuff, and you get Killer of Killers.

In fact, after telling some people about Killer of Killers, one of them told me that she liked the Jean Claude Van Damme movies, and I told her that she could envision Jean Claude Van Damme as the actor playing the part of Trent Smith, as he is an average-sized actor, and a martial artist, himself.

But some styles of movie making don't appeal to me. Tim Burton's odd take on movie making is not something that I like, nor is Quentin Tarrantino's style of over the top violence, blood, and excessive dialogue something I can appreciate. Make no mistake, they are both talented movie makers, and they certainly have their share of success. But not everyone will like the same thing, and I have my problems with their styles.

If a movie maker wanted to make a movie of my books, I would hope it would be someone like Corey Yuen, the guy who made the Transporter movies. He's a martial arts movie expert, and choreographs the fights and most of the action. Or anyone who had a hand in any of the martial arts movies that have come out in the last twenty years I would think could be right to make KOK into a movie.

But if, say, Burton or Tarrantino wanted to make Killer of Killers into a movie, would I say no? I have a feeling I wouldn't.

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