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.



Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Least Favorite Part of Writing

Starting out a new novel, which I'm doing at the moment, is my least favorite part of writing a novel. You have to make sure there's a decent plot. Got that. You have to make sure there's a decent subplot. Still working on that. You have to make sure you have the characters you need, and the characters all need a significant role in the plot. Still working on that too. And you have to make sure you have a great climax to the story. I'm working on that, too.

But that's the problem. It's work. Meaning, you have to work hard to make sure it all works. It has to fit together like a puzzle. Like when you compose a song. You have to make sure the different parts of the song flow together seamlessly. You don't want your song to sound choppy, or disconnected, nor do you want your story to be ill-fitting from scene to scene.

And that's the hard part of writing. But once you've got all that done, the revising and editing is the easy part. For me, the revising is the most fun. But the problem is for my five prior novels, that stage is over, and now I'm back to square one for the start of my sixth novel.

Interestingly, for my fifth novel, Second Chance, I didn't have to undergo that beginning stage. It had all come to me in a dream. I know it sounds unbelievable, but maybe it's because, like the main character in Second Chance, I too was robbed of my senior year of high school football. Don't need to get into the details, but as a result of that, I had recurring dreams about it. Almost like a what if scenario in dreams that recurred for forty years.

And it was that last dream, well, the dream from about a year ago now, it was pretty much an entire story that took place in the dream, and I wrote out the outline the next day. And I finished that outline in that same day. Compare that to now, where I'm on my third day trying to pound together an outline for Book Three of the Killer Series, and I'm still not finished. It has to be perfect. Like the first two books are. But the only way you get it done is to do it. So back to work.

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