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, January 12, 2016

Ideas Abound for Books and Stories

The word has leaked, slowly, that is, about my books. Not even my fellow teachers know I've written five books. Not even my own family members know. Not all of them, I mean. Certainly not all of my friends, both from my past and my current day friends. Once in a while I'll get an email from an old friend saying he just learned about my books and will look forward to reading them.

Interestingly, it's not uncommon for more than a few of these people to tell me that they too have ideas for books. They are not shy to tell me their ideas, asking me for my opinion. Sometimes these ideas are nothing original or nothing new. But that's not a problem. The latest Star Wars, for example, was nothing new, really, not in the "idea" sense. It was a rehash of the very first Star Wars movie as I blogged about recently. And it was very successful wasn't it? It's setting records.

Some ideas I've heard do have original elements, and to both sides of this I've responded positively. For those ideas that have been done before, I say it's not just the plot that's important, it's the execution of the plot. The characters are the most important, imo, and that's what sells a story. How many times have we seen the same sci fi story about space wars and space ships? But the characters make the franchise. Darth Vader, Han Solo, Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock, etc.

In the spy genre, you have James Bond. But James West was great, too, as was Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin. And even Maxwell Smart, not to mention Austin Powers. The characters made the shows work.

So you have a good idea, good characters, a good plot, and you write well. You need good locations, and presto, you've got the necessary ingredients for a great book. Next thing you do is you write it. That's where the hard work comes in. If you don't do that, you'll have nothing. So get busy, my friends, get busy. I'll be glad to read your stories when you're done writing them. Let me know when that is, and I'll get back to you.

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