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, May 14, 2014

The Best Part of a Book

When you pick up a book and read it, what's the best thing about it? The writing? Writers might want to believe it's the writing. The editing? Editors might want to believe it's the editing. The plot? Well, yeah... It's the story! The characters have got to be characters that are interesting, but more importantly, it's the story, meaning it's all about what happens during the course of the plot. Every story needs a plot, or it's flat. A story without a plot is like a balloon without air. And yes, there have been stories, even movies, that have had no plot.

A plot must contain some kind of objective. The character(s) in the story must have an objective, or objectives, and the course of the plot is how that objective is ultimately achieved. There will be events that occur during the course of the plot, and all of that makes up your story.

But it must be a story that is interesting to read. It should be exciting, intriguing, and unique. Most stories nowadays are not unique. It's 2014, after all, and stories have been told for thousands of years. Just about every plot you can think of has already been relayed in one way or another. So it's nearly impossible to be unique when telling a story.

But there are different twists that can be unique. And I believe both Killer of Killers and The Vase contain stories that are unique in that sense. Killer of Killers is about vengeance, and that's a concept that's not unique. But unlike the vast majority of vengeance/revenge stories, the main character, Trent Smith, is not after villains who murdered his wife, father, brother, friend, or relative.

Nope. That would be Batman, The Punisher, Daredevil, Spider-man, the Death Wish movies, and countless other stories in books, movies, etc.

No, there's a unique concept in Killer of Killers, and it's what drives Trent Smith. He's a fanatic. An extremist. But not your run of the mill extremist. We see those kind every day. Don't need more of that. Trent Smith is a fanatic about JUSTICE. And even in today's real world, there is a shocking lack of it. There's nothing we can do about it. Not in the real world, anyway. Murderers today, even when they're caught, get to live in near luxury awaiting their due. And most of them will never get their due.

And in Killer of Killers, that's how it is, too. There is a lack of justice. And it's what drives Trent Smith. He is justice personified. And he is driven. He's a driven man. For JUSTICE. It's the road he travels, and he won't stray from it. Of course, a lot of things happen along the way. It's what makes Killer of Killers an exciting story to read. Throw in a bevy of interesting characters and a wonder drug that cures all disease and even stops aging, and you have a great story with a great plot and exciting events!

And The Vase? It actually has a unique plot. And unique characters, and a unique concept. It's a story about a vase. Really? A vase? How can a story be about a vase? Well, the unique concept in The Vase is the fact that it's an ancient vase that contains, not wine, not flowers, but IMAGES that have been recorded in its exterior grooves. Just like a vinyl record. The kind of records that people listened to before the advent of CDs and DVDs.

Now think of all the possibilities that concept offers. A vase from, say, two thousand years ago, that contains iconic images recorded within its grooves. So where might this particular vase have been originally made? How about Nazareth? Or Capernaum, maybe. Guess who lived in those places. Who might have been traveling in those places throughout history, and of course, more than one vase is created throughout time. A vase maker doesn't make only one vase. No, he makes hundreds of vases. And hundreds of vase makers make thousands of vases. Over time.

So think about that. You have a source of several different images that could have been recorded over time by several different vase makers in the areas of Nazareth and Capernaum. There's a lot of source material there. Because a lot of historical people have been living in or traveling through those places.

And today, the area offers a lot of conflict. I don't need to detail that. But it's all there in The Vase. A unique concept, with unique characters, and a very unique and original story. Check it out, and  you'll see. Buy Killer of Killers and The Vase today. You'll see for yourself.

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