Randall’s Ramblings, July 23, 2023

It’s been another wet week, with rain five of the past seven days. Sometimes there were light showers while at other times there were heavy downpours. The temperatures are also lower than normal. Right now, it’s 54F (13C) but feels like 44F/7C. Of course, the wind coming from the north is keeping the temperatures down.

We’ve had a great week despite the weather as our son, who lives in Washington, D.C., arrived on Monday for a ten-day visit. On Thursday, one of the dry days, we went to Linlithgow Palace, the birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots. The palace was one of the principal residences of the monarchs of Scotland in the 15th and 16th centuries, but was burned out in 1746. However, it’s still worth a visit if you’re in the area.

“Read, read, read. Read everything – trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.” William Faulkner. Compliments of https://www.inc.com/glenn-leibowitz/50-quotes-from-famous-authors-that-will-inspire-yo.html.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on 23 July, the fourth and final Sunday of the month. (Compliments of https://www.onthisday.com/birthdays/):

Francis Blomefield, English topographer (History of Norfolk); Coventry Patmore, English poet and critic (The Angel in the House); Edmund John Armstrong, Irish poet; Salvador de Madariaga y Rojo, Spanish diplomat and writer (Englishmen, Frenchmen, Spaniards); Gluyas Williams, American cartoonist (Fellows Citizen); Raymond Chandler, American-British mystery novelist and screenwriter (Farewell My Lovely; The Long Goodbye; The Big Sleep); Elspeth Huxley, English author (The Flame Trees of Thika and The Mottled Lizard); Michael Foot, British politician (L) and writer, Leader of the Opposition (1980-83); Ronald Ridout, English school textbook author (English Today); Cyril M. Kornbluth, American sci-fi writer (Space Merchants); Gavin Lambert, British-American screenwriter (Inside Daisy Clover); Ludvik Vaculik, Czech writer (Two Thousand Words); Hubert Selby Jr., American author (Last Exit to Brooklyn); Guy Fournier, French Canadian author and screenwriter; Nicholas Barrington, British high commissioner (Pakistan) and author (A passage to Nuristan: exploring the mysterious Afghan hinterland); and Carl Phillips, American poet (“Then the War” – 2023 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry).

Any names familiar to you? There were two for me this week: Michael Foot and Nicholas Barrington. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Published Work – Promotions

The Kurdish Connection, Dangerous Alliance, Colombian Betrayal, Mission: Angola, and Frozen Conquest are participating in a Thrillers and Suspense promotion through the end of August. There are seventy-eight Mystery & Suspense, Mystery & Suspense / Thriller, and Romance / Suspense novels to choose from, so when you have a moment or two, please check it out.

My Work In Progress

Mission- YemenThis week, I completed chapter five  of Mission: Yemen, Xavier Sear Thriller Book 2. It’s been posted to the two online writing sites I use. A further twenty-two reviews came in this week, bringing the total to seventy-three. As always, plenty of recommendations for me to consider.

Here’s another snippet. Please keep in mind that since these are first-draft chapters, things will likely be changed once I get to the editing phase. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions, please let me know.

A man with salt and pepper hair and dark brown eyes sat in a window seat on the United Nations flight as it circled Sana’a International Airport as it prepared to land. Squashed into the seat by the huge man sitting in the middle, he gazed out the window as he rubbed the three-day growth on his face. He grabbed the armrests as the aircraft rocked in the slight turbulence. I hate airplanes. Why couldn’t I have driven in? Although I suppose a UN flight might be safer than one of the resumed commercial flights.

His real name long forgotten, the man now known as Xavier Sear continued to study the digital file provided by Ron Vincent. Sear received the file while attending the twentieth wedding anniversary of long-time friends, João and Catarina Regaleira. João had convinced him to help rescue an Angolan doctor who had been kidnapped by guerillas in the Democratic Republic of the Congo while working for the Christian Aid Mission. Sear met up with Vincent while in Lisbon and received his latest mission.

Once a member of the CIA’s Special Activities Division (SAD), responsible for covert and paramilitary operations, Sear now worked as a free-lance contractor. While he could accept or reject any assignment, he usually agreed to those Vincent recommended. Hope this one is as easy as the one in the DRC. Not that any of the missions Vincent gives me are easy.

He clicked a button to return to the beginning of the file. The first item was a series of photos depicting the Bashari family: Abdullah; his wife, Yasmin Rashid; sixteen-year-old daughter, Shatara; and fourteen-year-old son, Zahid. A lovely looking family. Their love for each other is apparent in their expressions throughout the pictures.

The plane rocked again as the landing wheels locked into place.

Sear closed the file, removed the thumb drive, and shut down his iPad before stowing it in his carryon bag, shoved between his legs. He inched the drive into his front pocket. Don’t want to lose this.

The aircraft bounced once as it landed before the pilot leveled off and rocketed toward the terminal.

Sear clung onto the armrests. Can’t blame the pilot for hurrying. We’re a sitting target and could be caught up in the fighting between the Saudi-led coalition and the Houthis. I hope Malik and Qasim received the message I’m arriving today. If not, I’ll have to go to ground until I can contact them.

More next time.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2023 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

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