Will iconic images recorded in the grooves of an ancient vase unite the Holy Land or rip it further apart?


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, December 4, 2014

Found Reviewer, but Changed my Mind

I've seen books with reviews that seem endless. My books aren't among them, but I wonder sometimes why some books have reviews that number in the hundreds. Since my books aren't sold in bookstores, because they're POD published, I'm sure my books don't get read as much as they would be if they were sold in bookstores. But I know my books are read, and that's great.

But the people who read my books aren't reviewers. They've told me that they like them. Some even offered some opinions, like they thought so and so should have died, or so and so should have lived. When it comes to killing off a character in one of my books, I don't make decisions lightly. I go with the flow of the story. If a character's demise is the result of realistic developments, then it happens, just like in real life. Or if those events result in a character's survival, then that's how I write it.

But I digress. I'm talking about reviews here. And as I was saying, those people who read my books are not reviewers. So I have no reviews. So I'm wondering how all these other authors get so many reviews. I believe they solicit them. From their friends, from their family members, and yes, they even pay for them. And that explains why the bulk of all book reviews are five star ratings, with wonderful and supportive reviews. I would guess that positive book reviews outnumber negative ones by about ten to one. At least. Maybe that's a very conservative estimate. It could be greater.

So I don't solicit reviews. Not from my friends, not family members, and I certainly don't pay for them. I think that's pretty cheap. Underhanded even. And certainly not honest. Even if that friend, family member or paid reviewer really did like the book. It's solicited. 

And I did find a reviewer who agreed to review my book. Not because he was going to be paid. He just likes to review books. And I thought that it would be great to finally get a review. But I changed my mind. I went back to my belief that reviews should not be solicited. If I had allowed it, then that would be hypocritical. So no. If someone were to review any of my books, I would like it to be UNsolicited, and only done because they felt they really wanted to express their feelings about it. On their own. But that would take a person who tends to express their feelings in writing. So far, no readers of my books have been people like that. 

Well, once someone did. It was a great review, too. But it's gone. Since I didn't review his book, I can only conclude he felt cheated. But I didn't know he was another author at the time. I should have known. Better stay on top of that. I will in the future.


  1. I'll ask for reviews from anyone who has read my book. But, the holy grail is to get a celebrity review. Most celebrities don't list their E-mails, and certainly don't answer E-mails. However, world famous Sci/Fi author Piers Anthony did a book review for me. It was quite a thrill. The key is to never stop thinking of marketing ideas, and never say never.

  2. I'm sure you're right. Congrats on that review by Anthony. What I would give for Corey Yuen to read Killer of Killers. Or Ron Howard to read The Vase! Those two guys would be my first choice movie makers for each respective book. Oh, to dream...

  3. If you can get their E-mail, pass it on. Penumbra has a blog that featured your book. Visit it sometime with a comment.


  4. Oops, I meant Penumbra was at http://penumbrapublishing.blogspot.com/