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.



Monday, May 12, 2014

Reviews--Solicited and Not Solicited

Once I received a terrific review for Killer of Killers. I mean it was so good, I couldn't believe someone could be so kind. And it was written by a complete stranger, too.

Sure just about every author out there will have great reviews. But I'm sure the bulk of those reviews are solicited from friends, relatives, and acquaintances, or even fellow authors and coworkers. Other reviews are solicited from people who get a free book for doing it. And they'll all be good reviews, of course. Because the deal for a free book is a good review. Or no review, if the reviewer insists on honesty, meaning if he/she did not like the book, then he/she will leave no review rather than a bad one. And there's nothing wrong with that.

To be perfectly honest, I tried to solicit some reviews. I didn't go gung ho in my efforts, though. I contacted some reviewers, but none of them were available. It seemed the reviewers I contacted already had a long list of books waiting to be read and reviewed. So I stopped trying.

It's not like I'm a quitter. For instance, when it came to my efforts to get published, there were plenty of bumps in that road. So much so, that it was very discouraging. But I kept on, and on, and eventually both Killer of Killers and The Vase were published. Quitting was always in the back of my mind, but I'm glad I didn't.

As for reviews ... that's a different story. I have quit soliciting reviews. Of course that means when a review does come in, it might just be a bad one. Because I'm no longer offering any free books for a review, meaning there's no deal in place. If the reader doesn't like it, the posting of a bad review may just be the result.

And I"m no longer giving free books to friends and relatives, either. I've already documented how that turned out. That was a very disappointing avenue to travel. And it's just as well.

Which brings me back to that great review I had received just a few months after the first edition of Killer of Killers was published. To this day I regret not thanking that reviewer. I didn't know who he was, and I didn't make any attempt to find out. I should have at least commented on that review, thanking the guy. Because I've since seen that authors do that. Just goes to show how detrimental inexperience can be. Because shortly thereafter, the review disappeared. I suppose the reviewer, feeling unappreciated, deleted that fantastic review.

I'll never really know why exactly, but that's my best guess. I don't suppose he would have changed his mind after writing and posting the review. It was on Goodreads. But not anymore. It was so good, that had I known he was a fellow author, I would have bought his book and read it, and posted an honest review of his book, too. But not doing that was my mistake. Like I said, you live and learn, and with experience you stop making the mistakes you made along the way.

So here's to hoping another reader who I don't know will like one of my books and leave a good review. That's how some people gauge the books they want to read--by reviews, even if those reviews are solicited. But you can bet any reviews for my books won't be. That's for sure.


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