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, November 24, 2014

Killer Eyes, John Dunn, and Second Chance

Talk about Works in Progress. I have three WIPs going on right now. All at the same time. Killer Eyes, John Dunn, and Second Chance.

Killer Eyes is on its last read-through. I said that a million times already, I know, but this time has GOT to be the last read-through. But who knows. I might end up saying that a million more times. The thing is that the more you read through it, the more you improve it, the better it turns out to be. It happened with Killer of Killers and The Vase. And it's happening with Killer Eyes, too.

And there's my other book called John Dunn, Heart of a Zulu. That will probably take until summer to complete. And then there will be more read-throughs, of course. There's one scene I didn't write that I should probably put in there. It's when the Zulu warriors are getting so itchy for a fight, that they attack another Zulu regiment. That's how bad they wanted to fight. And there's two reasons why I should put it in there. One, it reinforces one of the reasons why the Anglo Zulu War erupted.

Yes, the English pushed the war onto the Zulus, but the Zulus themselves WANTED to fight. War was the Zulu culture. And they had already had wars with pretty much all their neighboring tribes. The English were pushing for war, and the Zulus were not a people to back down from any war. Not even against the white men, who had already demonstrated superior fighting power by then. But what the Zulus had experienced in fighting white men was no modern army. They had only fought bands of Boers, (Dutch descendants who had colonized South Africa centuries before.)

But even the Dutch ultimately got the better of the Zulus. Still, the Zulu didn't back down. Not to the Dutch, not to anyone. Not even the British. Now, King Cetshwayo was a smart king. He knew that fighting the British army would be a bad idea. But the factor that I eluded to was ever present. That factor was the Zulu ritual called the "Washing of the Spears." Young Zulu men needed to prove their skill in battle. They called it the "Washing of the Spears." As in washing their spears in the blood of their enemies. It's one of the reasons they had that fight break out between the two Zulu regiments. They were itching to fight, because they hadn't had a fight since the Zulu civil war twenty years prior to that. They were pretty much demanding for their king to send them to fight someone.

And the second reason why I should put that scene in my John Dunn book is because John Dunn was present when that fight broke out. He was an eye witness to it. He documented the event in his autobiography, which I have. It's called John Dunn, Cetswayo, and the Three Generals. I used it as one of my sources for my John Dunn book. So when I get back to it, I'll see to all POV issues of course, like I was doing last summer, and then see to putting that scene in there.

And my third WIP is my football story, Second Chance. I'm writing that because I'm inundated with football right now. Both of my sons are on football teams. My younger son's Pop Warner football team just went to Spokane, Washington for a regional championship. With so much football in my life, I had that dream about football, so I'm putting that into a novel called Second Chance, a Football Story. Wow, three books at once. That's a full plate right there. I'll keep you posted.

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