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, July 8, 2016

Football Season is Upon Us


Football season is near. Training camps are underway. The first games will be next month. And next month my football book, Second Chance, a Football Story is going to be published. It is due to be released August 23rd. And I am happy about that. If you like football, you will like this story. Why? Because it's about football. And several different levels of football are portrayed. Sure, everyone knows about the NFL. In my book, I don't use "NFL" but I do mention professional football. And there's a couple scenes in the book where a group of friends are watching pro games on TV with beer and pizza.

I mention college football, too. I don't actually show any pro or college games. I just talk about them in the book. What I do show in the book mostly, (three full games and the second half of another,) is high school football games. That is the focus. High school football. And there's a lot of it. I had to be sure I had the high school football rules right. There are some differences between high school rules and pro rules which I'm more used to, and probably a lot of people are more used to. But I had to be sure I had the high school rules right. With three full games portrayed in my book, and the second half of another, it was very important I had that right. The plot of the story is the high school games. It's what drives the storyline.

There's a city parks and recreation flag football league portrayed in the story, too. The main character is actually a city parks and rec employee, and it's his job to organize and referee those parks and rec flag football games. It's a major part of the storyline, too, btw. And there's at least two or three city flag league games portrayed in the story.

There's sandlot football, too. As early as chapter one. If you don't know what sandlot football is, I will tell you. It's when a group of guys, (or gals) get together and play a football game. There's no refs, no pads, sometimes not even a football field. Maybe it's at a park, and sometimes it's on the street. If it's on the street, it won't be tackle. But if it's on a grass field often the guys play tackle. Even without pads. It can be brutal. It can be painful. But it sure is fun. That is if you love the game of football. And a lot of people do. So much so, that football is America's number one sport. It has been for a long time. It's my favorite sport, that's for sure. It always has been.

Not just my favorite sport. It's one of my all time favorite things, period. Sure, I have a wife, I have two sons, (both of whom play football, btw,) and even a mother-in-law. Sure I'm a teacher with hundreds of students and a classroom, (two classrooms, actually, one for drawing and one for ceramic sculpture,) and sure I love all of those things. Sure I love art, (being an art teacher, that's a given,) and sure I love music, like everyone else. (I even write and compose my own music!) And sure I love writing about things that fascinate me, like great heroes who are magnificent martial artists, like Trent Smith in my two Killer books. And sure I love history, which is what propelled my book about the true life story of John Dunn, and even my Middle East thriller called The Vase.

Yes, I love all of those things. But football is right up there at or near the top of all things I love. So one day I wrote a novel about it. You know already how it came about, because I've blogged about it before. I had a dream. No, not like MLK. I had a dream about football. Several dreams, actually. Since high school, I've said many times, I've had recurring dreams about football. If you want to get into the psychology of it, it's probably because my own football experiences were never fully realized. I never reached my full potential. Bad decisions and bad luck were large parts of that.

I had some minor success at the high school level, but I fell far short of what I should have accomplished. And mostly, it's my own fault. Sure there were the bad luck injuries. But again, had I made better decisions, who knows if those injuries would have happened. It affected my later bad decisions. I might have played in college, but I didn't. Bad luck? Bad decisions? They went hand in hand in my case. Sure I played sandlot football. A lot of sandlot football. And my last hurrah, so to speak was a stint in a city parks and recreation flag football league.

But again, it was far short of my potential. Okay, that's the psychological angle behind my recurring football dreams. Which led to the story in Second Chance, my football novel. I dreamed it. When I woke up, I thought, wow, that was like watching a movie. So then I thought, I should write it down. I did. Then I thought, I should write it as a novel. I did. And now it's being published. So that's the history of how Second Chance, a Football Story came about. It's a great story. If you like football, you'll love this book. Watch for it next month. Stay tuned.

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