Randall’s Ramblings, September 10, 2023

It’s been a mainly dry and partially sunny week, with daytime temperatures getting as high as 69-81F  (21-27C). However, last week’s cooler evenings have impacted on the leaves, at least on our birch trees. Most of the have yellowed and are starting to fall. Won’t be long and I’ll need to starting raking them up.

Over the past week, the price of gasoline (petrol) increased again, going up another penny, bringing it up to 1.54 a liter. However, with the pound weakening against the dollar, the price of an equivalent U.S. gallon fell from $7.33 to $7.26. Meanwhile, the price of a liter of diesel dropped to £1.565 a liter.

“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” — George Orwell. Compliments of https://selfpublishing.com/writing-quotes/.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on 10 September, the second Sunday of the month. (Compliments of https://www.onthisday.com/birthdays/):

Thomas Sydenham, English physician and author of “Observationes Medicae”; Hannah Webster Foster, American author (The Coquette; or, The History of Eliza Wharton); Charles Peirce, American scientist and philosopher known as “the father of pragmatism”; saac Kauffman Funk, American publisher (Funk & Wagnalls); Jeppe Aakjær, Danish poet and novelist (Bondens Søn); Georgia Douglas Johnson, African American poet and playwright (Autumn Love Cycle); Euphemia “Phemia” Molkenboer, Dutch author and poster artist; Berthold Altaner, German Catholic church historian (Patrologie), and educator; Carl Van Doren, American literary critic and biographer (“Benjamin Franklin” – Pulitzer Prize, 1939); Hilda Doolittle, American poetess (Imagist movement); Franz Werfel, Austrian-Bohemian novelist, playwright, and poet (Mirror Man, The Forty Days of Musa Dagh); Viswanatha Satyanarayana, Indian Telugu writer (Ramayana Kalpa Vrukshamu, Veyipadagalu); Georges Bataille, French writer; Toivo Pekkanen, Finnish writer (Wegwerkers); William Oliver Everson, American poet; Franfo Fortini [Franco Lattes], Italian poet; Miguel Serrano, Chilean author, diplomat and fascist (Esoteric Hitlerism); Lex van Delden [Alexander Zwaap], Dutch composer and writer (Canto della Guerra); Leo P. Kelley, American sci-fi author (Dead Moon, Vacation in Space); Bo Goldman, American Academy Award-winning screenwriter (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; Melvin and Howard), and playwright; Mary Oliver, American poet (1984 Pulitzer Prize); Jared Diamond, American biologist and author (Guns, Germs and Steel); Stephen Jason Gould, American paleontologist and popular science writer; Neale Donald Walsch, American author (Conversations with God); Zhang Chengzhi, Chinese writer (History of the Soul); Gerry Conway, Marvel comics writer (Punisher); Chris Columbus, American film writer/director (Mrs Doubtfire, Nine Months); and Anurag Kashyap, Indian film director, writer, producer and actor (Gangs of Wasseypur, Satya, Black Friday).

Any names familiar to you? There weren’t any for me this time. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Work In Progress

Mission- YemenThis week, I completed chapter twelve  of Mission: Yemen, Xavier Sear Thriller Book 2. As always, it’s been posted to the two online writing sites I use. A further twenty-one reviews arrived this week, bringing the total to 222. As always, there are plenty of recommendations for me to consider, and I’m always appreciative of the time and effort people put into reviewing my work.

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.

Sear joined Wasim and Malik in the hotel’s dining room after Maghrib prayers. There were four other people in the restaurant, all locals based on how they were dressed. They sat at the same table, away from Sear and the others.

Wasim and Malik sat at a square table covered with a red and white checkered tablecloth. In the center were three unlit candles. Both men stood.

Sear chuckled and waved them back into their seats. “I’ll be looking over my shoulder to see who you’re rising for.”

A man wearing a stained apron approached. “Good evening, my friends. Dabir told you about me, yes?”

“Yes.” Sear nodded. “What should we call you?”

“Cook is sufficient, and if you enjoy the meal afterward, you may call me Chef.” The man cackled.

“Okay, Cook. Dabir says your sayadieh is excellent, so we want to try it.”

The cook grinned. “Of course, Sayyid. Might I suggest naqe’e al zabib, a raisin beverage for now, and after your meal, perhaps you might have qishr, a traditional Yemeni drink that we use instead of coffee because it is less expensive.”

Sear, Wasim, and Malik nodded.

“Excellent. I shall return soon with your meals.”

Ten minutes later, the cook returned with their meals. He served them and departed, returning with their drinks.

Lights flickered.

One of the other patrons pulled out a lighter and lit the candles on their table.

Sear followed suit as the lights flickered again.

The roar of low-flying aircraft shook the building and rattled the windows.

A bright light in the distance lit up the sky as the planes dropped bombs on part of the city before turning away.

Sear glanced at Wasim and Malik. “Someone’s getting hammered.” He continued to eat his fish and rice.

The brothers nodded.

Dabir rushed into the dining room and approached their table. “Is everyone okay?” He smiled. “Another Saudi-coalition raid on the city, no doubt.”

“How often does it happen?” Sear finished his fish and put his fork down.

“It seems like every night bombs go off, but some will be by those sacrificing themselves. Not often, but on occasion, we have a quiet evening. At least our part of the city hasn’t been targeted.”

A low-intensity rumble rolled through the sky, growing louder as aircraft returned once again.

“I hope you didn’t speak too soon.” Sear grinned. “Is there an air raid shelter?”

Dabir nodded. “Come this way. We do not want to tempt fate any more than necessary.” He handed out flashlights.

As Dabir led them through a doorway and down a flight of stairs into the basement, the whistling of falling munitions filled the air.

Ka-Boom! Ka-Boom!

“Hurry, everyone!” Dabir shined his light on the steps.

They joined the four locals huddled inside a room reinforced with steel girders as the building continued to shake.

Smash! Crunch! Crack! Tinkle!

Hotel windows broke under the concussion from the nearby explosions.

Why can’t I get a mission to a peaceful country?  Sear shook his head. Perhaps somewhere in the mountains, like a chalet overlooking Lake Lucerne, Switzerland?

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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