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.



Saturday, October 29, 2016

Long Road to Publication (and Perfection)

It's been about ten years now, since I began writing novels. I started with Killer of Killers. I was a good writer, but I wasn't "there" yet in regards to how novelists of the 21st Century are supposed to write novels. I wasn't hip to the POV requirements of today's writers, and although I was a good linguist in regards to vocabulary and word usage, I did have some flaws in regards to transitive verbs and dialogue tags. But that was ten years ago.

I followed Killer of Killers with The Vase, which was a totally different story, and then I wrote Killer Eyes, which was the follow up to Killer of Killers. I didn't focus on publication yet. I had always wanted to write the John Dunn story, so I went ahead with that.

Then came publication. And with the editing that followed, I learned the right way to use POV, especially third person limited. I learned the omniscient version of third person is taboo these days. So I rewrote all four of my books and made them third person limited. I also learned the correct way to use dialogue tags and transitive verbs. Those were my weaknesses, and now, well, I don't think I have any weaknesses. It's all been corrected.

It doesn't mean a typo or two, or a continuity flaw won't escape the notice of an editor. Any writer might miss mistakes, too. I've heard of how even the best writers miss errors, and these days, the editing process is more streamlined, which means errors might go unnoticed even until after publication. So you grin and bear it.

I learned that my recently published book Second Chance has a couple errors in it. My brother, also a writer caught them. But it's too late now. It's published. If  anyone buys it, don't worry. The errors won't ruin the story. It's still a great story. If you like football, that is. There are no errors in the writing of any of the football action, at least.

At this time, it's my John Dunn book on tap. It's due to be released in November, and as you know, November is imminent. That's why I've been working extra hard making sure there are no errors in that book. I've made many corrections lately, too, so that hard work is paying off. I already mentioned the one about "whiskey vs. whisky." And just as recently as yesterday I corrected another error. There's a dude on a horse, and later I say he leaps back on his horse. But the part where he had dismounted had been left out. So I fixed it. I put in there that he had dismounted. Now when I write that he remounted, it makes sense.

That would have been a minor error, but to be a great artist, or a great writer, or a great anything when it comes to creating art, you've got to be a perfectionist. That's what separates the great artists from the mediocre ones. That's not to say I'm a great artist. But if one doesn't try to be a great artist, then for sure one will never be a great artist or writer or whatever. So you try. And being a perfectionist is how you start.

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