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.



Thursday, October 23, 2014

Why are Martial Arts Stories the Best?

Why are martial arts stories the best? Because of the conflict! A story needs conflict. That's one of the first lessons an author will learn. You have to have conflict to make a story interesting. Otherwise it will have no impact. Meaning it will be boring. Would Star Wars have been so successful if there was no conflict? Of course not. And one of the reasons it was so interesting was the conflict. You know. The Jedi Knights vs. the agents of the evil Galactic Empire.

And every great story will have its version of conflict. But with martial arts stories, that conflict is up close and personal. It's deadly, it's exciting, it's hands down incredibly in your face. And the book Killer of Killers has more of it than any story I know. Trent Smith, the world's greatest martial artist, honed his skills in the underground fighting circuits of Asia. But that was only after he had perfected his fighting skills in the Academy of Budo Ju Jitsu where he trained for over twenty years.

He's not just any guy who trained at a martial arts studio. He's particularly suited for martial arts. Take Kareem Abdul Jabbar for example. Kareem was a seven foot two inch basketball star. And being seven foot two inches tall, he was particularly suited for basketball. But he loved the Bruce Lee martial arts movies, and even got to know Bruce Lee. He took lessons from Bruce Lee, and even got to be in a Bruce Lee movie. But watching a man that tall performing martial arts was comical.

Trent Smith is five foot nine inches tall and 195 pounds of solid muscle. And that is the perfect size for a martial artist. He's incredibly fast, too. Not meaning he's an Olympic sprinter, but his reflexes, his reaction time is off the charts. And that's one of the reasons he's the best. He can react much faster than his opponents. Like a mongoose fighting a cobra.

Actually, the cobra/mongoose comparison is an apt one. As fast as cobras are, the mongoose is much faster. When the two animals are squared off against each other, the mongoose wins every time. Because the cobra will strike, but the mongoose dodges the strike, and then strikes back with such lighting fast reflexes, it scores a deadly bite, killing the cobra. It's why people in India often have a pet mongoose around. Ever heard of the Rikki-Tikki-Tavi story? Check it out.

So yeah, Trent Smith is a lot like a mongoose when it fights a cobra. As good as his opponents are, he is even better. But of course being a tenth degree black belt helps. But it's his speed, training, and experience that wins the day for him in all of his fights. And those fights are up close and personal. They're deadly, exciting, and they're incredibly in your face.

Yes, the conflict in Killer of Killers and the upcoming sequel Killer Eyes is all of that. Conflict on almost every page. But I leave enough room in there for mystery, suspense, and yes, even romance. There should always be some degree of romance. Why? Because that's the real world. Men and women coexist, and they fall in love. That's not just Hollywood. Hey, it happened to me. And I'd bet it happened to you. So why wouldn't it happen to Trent Smith, too? It does. Trent is a serious guy, and he's very sincere. He's not like James Bond, who fools around with any pretty woman he comes across. No. Trent Smith is not superficial like that. He doesn't use women. Never. Not like Bond.

Hey, nothing against James Bond, btw. Just saying Trent's interactions with women are not like that. But since women do exist, and Trent is a good looking man, then romance happens. It's life in the real world, and in the Killer Series. Check out Killer of Killers today. Then you'll be ready for Killer Eyes when it comes out. And that is going to be soon.

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