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, September 29, 2015

Outlines Helpful, but not Necessary

When beginning a novel, outlines are helpful but not necessary. I wrote Killer of Killers with no outline. I had no clue what was going to happen, who was going to be in it, and how it was going to end. As I wrote it, however, the pieces just fell into place. When I wrote the sequel, Killer Eyes, which is coming out soon, I did use an outline. But after the book was finished, I really didn't follow the outline. At least not exactly. The outline helped, however, since it gave me a blueprint, so to speak to follow. But even  so, the final version was far from what was in the outline.

When I wrote The Vase, I  had a good idea what I wanted in that story. I used a sparse outline for that one, but like Killer Eyes, the final version bore little resemblance to the outline. And for John Dunn, well, since that was a true story, his real life, and the real historical events provided a ready made outline. I followed that, but added a couple fictitious events, which mostly centered on the doings of Dunn's first wife, Catherine Pierce.

For Second Chance, I followed the events as I dreamed them, but fleshed it out with additional characters and a rich story line. Which brings me to the third Killer story, Killer on the Payroll, and the YA story, Inside the Outhouse. I wrote an outline for Killer on the Payroll, but did not for Inside the Outhouse. And strangely, it's the latter book that's making more progress.

You'd think the book with the outline would be the one making more progress, but I'm finding that the book with no outline has more freedom to go wherever the story takes me. That's not to say that I can't throw out the outline, which I had done already. It's a fun process, but there's no strict rule to follow. I mean other than the 3rd person limited POV rule. That's one rule I'll never break again. Ever.

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