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, March 26, 2014

Weather in Stories-Is it Important?

How many times do you remember the weather being a factor in a story? Some stories are focused on the weather, like The Perfect Storm. I never saw that movie, but going by the title, I would think it was a story that was based on the weather.

And then you have several disaster movies that are based on extreme weather conditions that cause tornadoes, earthquakes, and volcanoes. But in only two of my books are weather conditions a factor. Those two books are The Vase and John Dunn, Heart of a Zulu.

Well, The Vase more so because the weather conditions during that story are unusual. The region is suffering from an unusual heat wave that is. And I make that happen because at that time there is a solar maximum phase going on. The eleven year cycle of solar maximum is factual, and it's during one of those periods the story takes place.

Not always are unusual heat waves the result of solar maximum phase, but I chose to make that the case in The Vase as a way to convey that the solar maximum phase is affecting the region where the setting takes place. And that would be Israel. What happens during solar maximum phases is an increase in sun spots, solar flares, and solar winds. And it's the solar winds that impact the story to The Vase. Solar winds cause geomagnetic storms in the space around earth, and these geomagnetic storms include an increase in electromagnetic fluctuation in the atmosphere.

Now you may or may not know that electromagnetic fluctuation is involved in both the transference of recorded images and the alleged occurrences of ghosts. And both events are happening in The Vase. So you can understand now why I use solar flares and solar winds, and a resulting heat wave in the story for The Vase. It's the catalyst of the unusual projection of ancient images from the grooves of the ancient vase.

In John Dunn, weather doesn't really play such an important role, like it does in The Vase, but during a couple scenes, it's pouring rain, a real deluge, particularly when John Dunn is evacuating all of the people who live on his land to the British side of the Tugela River, which is flooded and particularly hazardous to cross.

You see, the war had just started, and even though John Dunn was best friends with the Zulu king, he was forced to join the British side of the war. Dunn had advised the Zulu king NOT to go to war, but the war was forced upon them by the British, and the Zulus were never a people to shy away from any war, as they were a very warlike people anyway. They relished the thought of going to war, even sought it out, because it was part of their way of life.

And in real life, when Dunn's people evacuated Zululand, it was pouring rain. Thus, I made it that way in the book. I have to get back to that book later, however, because I'm still in the revision stage of Killer Eyes, which, as is the case in Killer of Killers, has no weather conditions taking place at all. Both stories, Killer of Killers and Killer Eyes, take place in a pleasant summer, and neither book is affected by weather conditions at all. In fact, the weather is very nice in both books.

And speaking of Killer Eyes, I have a major plot hole to patch up. It's got nothing to do with the weather, but I have to have a logical cause and effect for the events, and logical reasoning for people to do what they do, and I found a particular subplot that has issues with that. Hopefully I can mend that in a timely manner, and still have it out sometime this  year. Stay tuned.

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