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.



Friday, January 9, 2015

Reviews or No Reviews?

Well, I had said that I didn't think soliciting reviews was something I wanted to do. But I changed my mind. What made me change my mind was an article on someone's blog recently. It was on a blog by a writer who was saying the importance of reviews should not be underestimated, and she was specifically referring to negative reviews.

Her point was that even negative reviews get the word out about your books. And that is the most important thing when it comes to promotion. Spreading the word. And reviews do that. Yes, even negative reviews. One of her reasons was that there's no book out there that is loved by everyone. So negative reviews are normal. Inevitable. Of course, no writer looks forward to a negative review, but the plus side to a negative review is the fact that your book is being discussed. By someone. And that is to the author's benefit. Even negative reviews spread the word. And they prove that an author is not getting their reviews from just family and friends. They are getting their reviews from real reviewers who probably have no ties to that author.

Now, I wasn't against soliciting reviews because I was afraid of negative reviews. I just thought it was a little on the phony side. Like asking people to do something that they normally wouldn't do. I was thinking that people should just buy your book on their own, and only write a review if they were so inclined.

But if people want to write reviews, because they like doing that, then that means they are so inclined. And if they don't know about your book, then how can they write a review about your book? So you have to tell them about your book. As for exchanging a free copy for the review, well, for any product out there, it's not unusual for free samples to be distributed as a means of promotion. And that is the bottom line about my change of heart regarding the soliciting of reviews. Promotion. Marketing. Getting the word out. You have to start somewhere.

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