Will iconic images recorded in the grooves of an ancient vase unite the Holy Land or rip it further apart?


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.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Heart of a Zulu and Second Chance better than ever

During this off time, while waiting for the publication of John Dunn - Heart of a Zulu and Second Chance - A Football Story, I've been going over the manuscripts very carefully, finding and correcting errors and typos, improving prose, and perfecting continuity. And why shouldn't I? Now is the time to do it. Especially since I'm an experienced author at this point. I went through the publication process three times already. You don't want to find things in your book that need correcting after it's been published. And I'm making darn sure that doesn't happen my fourth and fifth time around.

Luckily, Melange Books cooperated with me to fix errors in my two Killer books, and the editor at Penumbra was very strict, which reduced the kind of errors you might find in books before it was published. But errors happen anyway, and those pesky typos have a way of popping up even when you were sure they were all gone.

With John Dunn - Heart of a Zulu, since it's such a long book, over 123,000 words, I found some inconsistencies pertaining to time. Meaning in one scene it's nightfall, but in the next scene, it's late afternoon. But it's supposed to be the same day. Clearly, late afternoon does not follow nightfall. And there were other similar problems, but they are fixed now, in addition to the typos that were revealed with a more careful screening.

Another problem I found and solved was the trip from Durban to Ungoye. In that scene, Dunn's servant was going to ride from Durban to Ungoye and back, and he says he'll be back by late afternoon. But he's making that trip on a horse. I asked myself if he could ride a horse from Durban to Ungoye and back in that kind of time? With a little research, I learned that 90 miles separates Durban and Ungoye. And with a little more research, I learned that a horse can travel about 40 miles in one day. Maybe with a fast horse an experienced rider can squeeze and extra five miles in a day's riding. So that means it would take at least two days just to get from Durban to Ungoye, and another two days to get back. So it's a four day round trip - at least. I am very glad I fixed that.

In Second Chance - A Football Story, there's a part where a reporter shows up at the main character's apartment. (Tony Belmont is the MC, btw.) Well, since they had only just met, how the heck did she know where he lived? Well, I fixed that, too. I just put in a prior scene that Tony gives the reporter his business card, which in this case had his home address on it.

So fixing things like that make a book a whole lot better. Some things might be small, like the reporter showing up at Tony Belmont's home, but other things are bigger, like having the proper time frame to allow a round trip between Durban and Ungoye. Your books are going to be all the better for it. And I'm not finished yet. Here's to making my books as best as they can possibly be!

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