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, May 4, 2015

Sent Improved John Dunn, Heart of a Zulu

Well, I improved the John Dunn manuscript in the week since I first sent it to Knox Robinson, and I sent it last night. I added "Improved Version" to the title so as to differentiate between this one and the first one I sent, and I also said that if they haven't reviewed it yet to review THIS version.

And if they do, I'm confident they will like it. Most of the improvements came in the prose. But I did find a few typos, and there were a couple of paragraphs in chapter 12 that really needed revising. It was a place I had revised before, but I hadn't finished it, and it seems like I forgot to finish it. It was still sensible in how it read, but it reads a lot better now. In fact, the entire manuscript reads a lot better now. So I hope they read that one instead of the other one.

This happens a lot to authors. I know I've made the mistake before. Meaning I've sent manuscripts that weren't quite ready to send, and then after I sent them I improved them, and sent them again. However, this time I expected to have time to do that. My plan was to query Knox Robinson with the usual query letter, synopsis, and first three chapters. Then reread and improve the manuscript while waiting for them to respond. Their website said it could take six to eight weeks to respond, and it's what most publishers say, although some publishers say it could take up to six months.

So in that period of waiting for them to respond, my plan was to go ahead and reread the manuscript and improve it as needed. But lo and behold. They answered the very next day, asking for the full manuscript. That was unexpected. So I hurriedly skimmed over it in one night, after work, and sent it as improved as I could get it in one night. Which left a lot undone. It takes a full read through to do that. I mean a full read through where you read every word on every page, as if you're reading it like a reader, so you can catch every word that might need to be improved and then improve it.

So I did that anyway, and now that I finished last night, I went ahead and sent it again. I don't suppose they read the manuscript yet anyway, so it should be on time. They're a big publisher, so they probably have a lot of manuscripts in queue. Hopefully this didn't put it further back in queue. But even if it did, I'm confident I did the right thing. It's a beautiful manuscript now. It's good to go. Fingers crossed.

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