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.



Thursday, February 25, 2016

Endings are Important

To me, a story's ending is extremely important. Call me sentimental, if you will, but I prefer not just a good outcome to a story, but a happy one. Or at least an ending that leaves me feeling good. I hate stories that leave me feeling lousy. I don't want to invest my time reading a story or watching a movie or TV show that leaves me feeling like crap. When that happens, I find myself wishing I never spent the time reading or watching that story. I think it sucks for a writer to do that. Meaning leaving his audience feeling like crap.

The movie Gladiator for instance. Russell Crowe's character wins over the crowd, kills the evil emperor, and retains the love of the female lead, but then he dies. That sucked. Even though he accomplished every goal the movie had for him to accomplish, the dude dies in the end. You feel good about the objectives being met, but you feel like crap that the guy dies anyway. It's almost like it didn't matter that he killed the emperor or won the adoration of the crowd, and the woman loves him. He's dead!

Another story that pissed me off was Stephen King's The Mist. After a harrowing experience dodging monsters from another dimension in some kind of heavy fog, five survivors decide to commit suicide, thinking there was no way out of the mist. They had a gun, but there were only enough bullets to kill four of them. So the shooter kills everyone but himself. Then, a few minutes later, the  mist clears, and here comes the U.S. military to the rescue. The day is saved, but wait. If the people had waited just a few more minutes, their lives would have been saved, too. It left the audience feeling like crap. I don't watch shows to feel like crap. It sucked. And I ended up hating that story.

You can bet every one of my stories has a good ending. And none of them make you feel like crap. Both Killer books end perfectly and so does The Vase. As for Second Chance, I play no games with the reader. It begins letting the reader know how it ends. The story is how he got there. It's the only story that really doesn't have a happy ending, but like I said, it's set up that way from the start.

As for John Dunn. That one is a true story. It had to end the way it did, which wasn't too happy for the Zulus, but that was real life. It's real history. John Dunn's end to the story was as good as it could have been considering the circumstances. It was forced upon him by the British and he made the most of it. He was a rational man, and he did what he had to do for his family to survive. And what a family he had. Fifty wives and over a hundred kids, as well as a few thousand dependents were counting on him. He came through for them all. It doesn't end leaving the reader feeling like crap.

It's what I believe a story should be. All my stories end the way stories should end. The reader feels good, or at least, not feeling like crap. As for the other stories I mentioned, I wish I never heard of them. Especially The Mist. It sucked.

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