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, December 22, 2015

Holidays In My Books

Now that it's the Christmas season again, I paused to consider if I ever had Christmas take place in any of my books. No. Both killer books took place during the summertime, as in July/August. That is, the events in Book Two, Killer Eyes, took place about a year after the events in Killer of Killers. The Vase took place from about the month of April to May/June. John Dunn, however, spanned the length of about 20 years, from December 1856 to about August 1879, and I remember John Dunn did mention Christmas to Captain Walmsley when he set out to fight in the first Zulu Civil War in December of 1856. Dunn said to Captain Walmsley, "I'll be back before Christmas."

But I think that's the only time I ever mentioned Christmas in any of my books. In my latest completed book, Second Chance - a Football Story, I mention Thanksgiving once, because Thanksgiving takes place during the football season. But the football season ends before Christmas, at least high school football does. As for my WIPs, Inside the Outhouse and Killer on the Payroll, there is no mention of any holidays in either of them, at least, not so far. Inside the Outhouse takes place in August, just before the main character, Cam Sinclair, begins his first year of high school. And Killer on the Payroll, well, I'm only about 10,000 words into that one, and I don't think I've mentioned what part of the year it's taking place yet.

I've only mentioned times of the year when it's been relevant to the story or to a conversation. I think that's appropriate, and I only mentioned any concurrent holiday when it's relevant, as well. So we'll see how that goes. Otherwise, the holidays really have had no impact on any of my stories. At least, not yet.

In the meantime, here's to hoping everyone out there has a Merry Christmas or a Happy Holiday, whatever your religious inclination allows you to have. I think it's weird that a person's religious inclination is what allows that person to receive a wish of a Happy Holiday. As a teacher, I have students from India who do not celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, or anything that has to do with the Judeo/Christian/Muslim religions. But if you wish them a Merry Christmas, say, by force of habit, those wonderful kids don't trip about it. They just say thank you and move on. They are truly wonderful kids. I'm lucky in a way. I hear about how some teachers are having hard times with the kids these days, yet I'm always blessed with great kids. And I have a Merry Christmas and/or a Happy Holiday every year. That's why I'm finally writing a book for them. (Inside the Outhouse) We'll see how that goes. Bye for now.

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