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, October 30, 2015

I Never Pay for Reviews

Some authors pay for reviews. Probably more than just some. I would say a lot of authors do. And you can bet those reviews are terrific, even if the reviewer didn't read the book. Why should he/she? The author certainly isn't paying for his/her book to be bashed. It's a win/win situation for everyone. Except readers. Readers get a skewed opinion about a book.

I've mentioned before that I don't do that. I don't pay for reviews. I've solicited some. And those precious few reviews I have received for Killer of Killers and The Vase have been good reviews. Mostly. I cut and pasted an excerpt from one of those reviews to the right of this post. It's from Melissa Ratel of the Writer's Union of Canada. She read and reviewed both books. I would describe her reviews as critiques, like we used to do in art classes at San Jose State University. She cited the positives and followed with the negatives. Just like those art critiques.

Mostly her negatives for both books centered around a lack of emotional expression in my main characters. That's okay, because what she said regarding positives, especially for Killer of Killers, more than made up for it. You can see in the excerpt underneath the Killer of Killers image that she thinks Killer of Killers would make a "spectacular" film. Well, I certainly agree with that.

When I look up other books, say on Amazon, I see hundreds of reviews. I'm thinking how do those authors get so many reviews, and then I remember. They solicit them, and they pay for them.

I'm told that reviews are one of the best methods of promotion for books. So those authors probably believe that paying for reviews is like an investment, like when companies pay for commercials on TV. Of course the commercials will only present the attractiveness of their products. Thus, the paid for review is nothing more than a commercial for a book.

As for me, I've got this blog, which I know people from all around the world visit every day. How many of those people actually buy one of my books, I couldn't say. Still, I'll never pay for a review. There's something dishonest about that. And I won't go there. Hopefully, word of mouth can be a beneficial thing for my books. If you've read one, and liked it, but aren't inclined to write a review, tell your friends about it. Here's to hoping that a movie director reads Melissa Ratel's review and takes her up on her recommendation. Because I didn't pay for that review. Or any others.

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