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, June 10, 2014

Writing New Books and Revising Old Ones

Authors, I'm sure, get new ideas for books pretty regularly, and when they do, they write novels. Sometimes long ones, sometimes not so long, and sometimes pretty short. I've not been someone who writes short stories. I may one day, but the novel length story seems to be what I do. And every once in a while I get a new idea. I may even dream of an idea. Like my football story, Second Chance.

But writing a novel length story isn't something that can be done at the drop of a hat. You have to plan it out, write the synopsis, maybe even an outline, and then write the whole thing out. But you are not close to being done. You have to revise it over and over and over again. Not to mention the editing process, and then you may have to rewrite several parts, or the whole thing.

I can't count how many times I rewrote Killer of Killers. But that was my first novel, so that's explainable. Even The Vase I rewrote a couple times, and I'm in the process of rewriting Killer Eyes right now, although it may be simply referred to as a strong revision.

I'm sure I'll need to rewrite John Dunn before it gets close to submission-ready, and when I finally write Second Chance I think I will finally be past the need for rewrites. After all I've learned a lot writing my first four books, so I think I'm good enough now that it won't be necessary. I've written over 2,000 words so far, and it reads very well. Of course, Killer Eyes reads very well, too, but that was after a couple rewrites. Killer of Killers and The Vase were the ones where all the learning took place. Particularly The Vase, because the editor over there pulled no punches when it came to what he expected in the writing for a novel, and I was eager to learn. But I applied all of that learning to the second edition of Killer of Killers, and I am still very pleased with how it turned out.

And of course I'm applying all of that to Killer Eyes, too. And I will apply it to the rewrite for John Dunn. And as I write Second Chance, that learning is being applied in the first rendition. That will make any revisions much easier, and I dare say, it will make revising a lot less necessary. I won't go so far as to say it will be right on the first draft, but it will most likely be the best first draft of any book I had written to date. So that bodes well for Second Chance. And every other book I write from now on. The future looks bright.

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