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.



Monday, October 31, 2016

Final Revisions Submitted

It's been about a month since Dana, my publisher at KRP wanted my John Dunn manuscript for editing to begin. Sure I sent it, but that didn't mean I was going to stop improving it. I learned long ago...revise, revise, revise...until it is actually published. Keep improving the ms while you can. And until edits begin, that's just what I aimed to do.

And it's a good thing. I corrected the whiskey vs whisky thing. I also learned Dunn was full Scottish not just half Scottish. I found a few typos, and spelling errors. And this past weekend I learned that the son of Henry Francis Fynn was not an adult when he accompanied his father to see King Mpande. (He saw Cetshwayo instead.) But the son, whose name is the same as the father's was only ten at the time. So I changed that part of my manuscript from his "adult" son to his "young" son. I suppose I could say his "adolescent" son, which would be more accurate than just his young son, but it's still accurate to say young son.

And the way I made this correction was by going over the ms again. There's a part where Captain Walmsley is toasting Fynn, and he pours two glasses of brandy. But I thought maybe he should pour three glasses, which is what prompted me to go on the Internet to see how old the son was. I searched for his birthdate, which was November of 1846. So that meant in January of 1857, which was when this scene took place, he was only ten years old. So no brandy for him

I also found out just where the Mangeni River is and put that and Isipezi Hill on the map I illustrated for the book. My map, so far as I know, is the only map of the region that has this river labeled. It's also the only map that has Cetshwayo's Mangweni kraal on it, and his original Ondini kraal. No other maps or books that I know of even make the distinction between the two separate Ondini kraals. (One of which is also called Ulundi.)

Things like this are important. Especially when it's real life people. There's going to be a lot of readers out there who will expect the writer to get this stuff right. And you've got to get it right the first time. I've learned that over and over again. So the truck keeps rolling.


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