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.

Monday, September 21, 2015

No Gratuitous Sex or Violence in Killer Series

I was watching Strike Back on the CineMax channel last night, hoping for another chance to see Dustin Clare, but he wasn't anywhere to be seen. What I did see was a ridiculous sex scene between Damien Scott, (played by Sullivan Stapleton,) and the newest hottie actress on the show. But it was a ridiculous scene. The female character's friend had just been murdered, and the woman asks Damien Scott to promise she can get revenge on the murderer, after which she proceeds to have sex with him, as if she had forgotten that her friend had just been murdered.

It was completely gratuitous. It did not advance the plot in any way. Of course it showed the complete act, nudity and all, as if it were a soft core porn show. Talk about gratuitous, it was the definition of it. It made me think about how my own Killer series doesn't do that. There is sex and violence in the Killer stories, but every sex scene has a plot advancing purpose, and none of them are graphic. There's a lot more violence, but those scenes are every bit necessary.

The word gratuitous connotes the scenes are unnecessary or overdone. In Strike Back, the latest sex scene was unnecessary. In my Killer Series, the sex scenes are not unnecessary, nor gratuitous, nor overdone. I still don't recommend them to anyone under eighteen, however. And being a Middle School teacher, I'm forever reminding my students that the stories are for their parents, not them. They can read The Vase. There's no sex scenes in that story. And my WIP, Inside the Outhouse is a story I'm writing specifically for them. Can't wait for that one to get finished. Time to go to work.

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